IAS Gyan

Daily News Analysis


26th November, 2021 Science and Technology

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  • Recently, the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has said that dealing with the issue of Havana Syndrome is a top priority and that it will keep investigating the cause and how to protect staff.


What is Havana Syndrome?

  • Havana Syndrome refers to a set of mental health symptoms that are said to be experienced by US intelligence and embassy officials in various countries.
  • It typically involves symptoms such as hearing certain sounds without any outside noise being present, nausea, vertigo and headaches, memory loss and issues with balance.
  • It traces its roots to Cuba. In late 2016, about a year after the US opened its embassy in Havana, some intelligence officials and members of the staff at the embassy began experiencing sudden bursts of pressure in their brain followed by persistent headaches, feeling of disorientation and insomnia.
  • A study of affected diplomats in Cuba published in the medical journal JAMA in 2019 found evidence that the diplomats experienced some form of brain injury, but did not determine the cause or specific character of the trauma.
  • While there is no expert consensus on the syndrome's cause, a co-author of the JAMA study considered microwave weapons "a main suspect"
  • Victims may have been subjected to high-powered microwaves that either damaged or interfered with the nervous system.
  • It was said to have built a pressure inside the brain that generated the feeling of a sound being heard.