Scientists slam microwave theory for “Havana Syndrome”

The Miami Herald / Tribune News Service via Getty Images

Workers at the U.S. Embassy in Havana left the building on September 29, 2013, after the State Department announced that it was withdrawing all essential staff from the embassy.

The “most laudable” explanation for the outbreak of a mysterious injury that dozens of Cuban U.S. diplomats carried out three years ago was the “most laudable” explanation, according to a long-awaited survey published over the weekend.

But the scientists who collaborated National Academy of Sciences reportCommissioned by the U.S. State Department that says possible searches for the microwave attack are not final. Experts outside the microwave and the mysterious “Havana Syndrome” have already dismissed it as indescribable. One scientist called it “science fiction.”

“In many ways, what we’re saying is that the US government needs to take a more thoughtful and comprehensive approach,” said David Rilman, a panel chair at Stanford’s Infectious Diseases Specialist. “All that is needed is a concerted effort to predict the future, not just what happened.”

The State Department praised the release, saying in a statement to BuzzFeed News that the report “could add to the data and analyze what helped us make the final decision on what happened.”

The statement further added, “Among several decisions, the report noted that the‘ stars of signs and symptoms ’are consistent with the effects of pulse radio frequency energy. We will note that ‘consistent’ is a term in the medical and scientific sciences that allows comprehension but does not determine the cause. “

About 35 diplomats reported mysterious injuries in late 2016, most notably in the Trump administration, linking U.S. diplomatic relations with Cuba.

In 2017, the State Department first expressed concern about staff at the U.S. Embassy in Havana who heard loud noises and then experienced symptoms including earache, headaches and headaches. Early news reports cited sonic weapons as the cause of a syndrome-like infection, such as deafness, inner ear damage and brain damage – all of which were rejected by the new NAS report – which then-State Department chief Rex Tillerson said.Health attacks“On diplomats and their families.

Other theories propagate that it was caused by mysterious illnesses The word cricket Mass hysteria triggers or Russian spies somehow sniff out the diplomats. In 2012, the State Department asked National NASA to review the disadvantages that limited information is available and insisted on providing advice on how to collect medical data for any future case clusters. The panel met three times last year, hearing treatment teams that treated or examined some infected patients; It reviewed reports from the CDC and the National Institutes of Health and heard the testimony of eight patients in closed sessions.

The report said the panel was hampered by a lack of information about the people involved, due to safety and medical privacy laws. Providing medical test data was not sufficient, as it was collected for the treatment of patients rather than to investigate the incidence of injury.

Jeffrey Stab, a professor of psychiatry at the Mayo Clinic, said, “We didn’t have information about the individual, including who was affected first, who was affected later, and what their connections were.” Given these limitations, the panel will report on acute, immediate symptoms among Havana diplomats – accents, pressure, tremors, earaches and headaches – the most unique and informative explanations of possible injuries on the panel. Gave.

“There are real loopholes in the information,” Stubb said. “We have all the security clearances to see everything about everyone, but there will be some holes in the information.”

Panel members told BuzzFeed News that the same limitation was what scientists were able to say was the reason for the injury. A theory that the mysterious illness was caused by an infectious disease such as the Zika virus was considered “highly probable” – and a recent explanation that the outbreak was caused by pesticide poisoning was not “likely”, although scientists noted that Blood samples from patients were not left to be completely avoided.

“We have all the security clearances to see everything about everyone, but there will be some holes in the information.”

Scientists also considered the third theory that mass was the cause of mental illness. In this scenario, a group of acute symptoms followed by a wide range of chronic conditions – significantly endless dizziness, nausea, insomnia and headaches – reflect past outbreaks of injuries spread by social infection. But Stubb said the panel could not come to a definite decision without mapping out individuals and their contacts to map social networks. “The most difficult thing to separate is psychological, social interpretation,” Railman said.

This leaves a final theory that the illnesses were caused by “directed radio frequency energy attacks”. Based on a real-life phenomenon called the “Frey effect” where vibrating microwave beams aimed at a person’s ear can only make a sound that the target person can hear, the panel suggests that an “Frey-like effect” is the “most admirable” interpretation.

“It’s a little dramatic. But first of all, something important and real happened to these people, “Rilman said.” We looked at the possible measures and saw that one was more admirable than the other and was fully compatible with several distinct clinical investigations. “

The report concludes that a microwave attack can cause compensatory balance and dizziness syndrome afterwards, and with it the injuries caused by anxiety. Chronic injuries often have psychological aspects that should not be discounted as actual symptoms, Stab said.

Some of the report’s most important findings were its state office’s recommendation on how to thoroughly investigate any future clusters, with many branch experts with Stab saying, “No matter what happens, we can’t let it happen again.” . “

However, experts in both microwave and group psychology were highly critical of the report’s findings.

“It doesn’t make a coherent argument as to why microwaves should be involved,” said Kenneth Foster, a bio-engineer at the University of Pennsylvania, who first described the process behind Frey’s influence. In 1974. A very high degree of effect is required for audible hearing, he said, and it was not known as the cause of the injury. “Maybe someone could hear the‘ clicks ’of the employees moving towards the truck on a huge microwave transmitter, but the easiest way could be to harass people,” he said.

“It’s not science, it’s science fiction,” said UCLA neurologist Robert Baloh, its assistant. Havana Syndrome: Embassy Mystery and Mass Psychogenic Illness and the Real Story Behind Hysteria. Not considered by the panel, Beloh said, the news reports alone portrayed the spread of the disease among patients in a way that looks like an outbreak of psychology in many groups, Boloh said. “These symptoms are real, many people are really injured and there is a serious misunderstanding even among doctors,” he added.

“It’s not science, it’s science fiction.”

Mitchell Joseph Valds Sosa, a neurologist at the Cuban Neuroscience Center, said the report was a step in the right direction because it invalidated the weaving theory of sonic weapons and brain damage. The results are similar a 2018 Report of the Cuban Academy of Sciences, Instinctive by Sosa, who suggested that the initial injuries among a few people had spread to more people across the broader diplomatic community by mass psychology. “We certainly don’t agree with the search for radio frequency pulses,” Sosa said, “but in the United States it may be important for us to acknowledge the psychological effects this is the first time.”

He noted that the Cuban hotels and surrounding microwave attacks are located in crowded, open spaces, making it possible for so few groups to be harmed or reassuring that the attacks could be spotted.

The Cuban Academy of Sciences reached out to the panel to present a survey of all the neighborhoods that have received reports of injuries. But the panel’s agreement did not allow consultations with Cubans.

None of the panel members seem to have much experience with the biological effects of microwaves, which may explain their willingness to consider Frey-like effects admirable, said Andrei Pakhomov, a bioengineering engineer at Old Dominion University, who was skeptical based on his four decades of research in the area. “There are many reports of biological effects from radio frequency fields but no reliable ones.”

Despite News of suspicion Pakhomov, a Russian immigrant based on Soviet-era research into how Russian spies make weapons, says the field is now deteriorating in Russia.

“I know all the people out there who could do something in this area,” he said. “They’re all retired or out of science.”

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