Friday, December 14, 2018
U.S. Diplomats Show Signs of Inner Ear Damage from Sonic Attacks in Cuba
Testing on the U.S. diplomats in Cuba who reported symptoms of dizziness, ear pain, and tinnitus after exposure to a high-frequency noise and pressure sensation has shown evidence of a balance disorder affecting the inner ear and a unique pattern of cognitive and behavioral dysfunction in these individuals, according to a new study (Laryngoscope Investig Otolaryngol. 2018. https://doi.org/10.1002/lio2.231). Researchers from the University of Miami and the University of Pittsburgh performed a comprehensive history and physical exam targeted at the head and neck as well as a neurologic exam on 35 individuals, 25 of whom had symptoms and 10 of whom simply lived with the symptomatic individuals. All 25 individuals who were exposed to the phenomenon noticed unsteadiness and features of cognitive impairment. The authors found that dizziness (92%) and cognitive complaints (56%) were the most common symptoms, and 100 percent of the subjects had an otolithic abnormality and evidence of cognitive dysfunction. The authors did not investigate or identify the cause of the symptoms, but they said intense ultrasonic radiation can cause the symptoms similar to the findings in these diplomats.