Published On: Tue, Feb 5th, 2019

State Dept Asks Scientist Panel to Investigate Cuba Mystery

The U.S. State Department has asked a new group of scientists to look into the cause of the health problems that have befallen government personnel working at the U.S. Embassy in Cuba.

According to a "statement of task" obtained by Yahoo! News, the panel at the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine will work at "understanding the current cases of potential acoustic trauma, and develop a better understanding of possible causes of these cases and approaches for future incidents, whether of an apparent acoustic nature or a different environmental or clinical presentation."

"The standing committee will also keep [State] abreast of any emerging concerns, interventions, and protective measures as these come available."

Personnel at the U.S. Embassy in Havana first began complaining health issues including dizziness, hearing loss and trouble concentrating in 2016.

"I think in this case, the State Department going to the National Academy of Sciences is a good idea, and a good move," Harvard University professor John Holdren, who was science adviser to former President Barack Obama, told Yahoo! News. 

"In part because the independent authority of the academy on scientific matters is often very helpful to policymakers when they need to run with a conclusion, but are reluctant to base it entirely on information coming from within the scientific capacity in government itself," he added.

The National Academies of Sciences spokesperson did not respond to Yahoo! News' request for comment.

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State Dept Asks Scientist Panel to Investigate Cuba Mystery