Scientists Find What Caused ‘Havana Syndrome’ That Affected Diplomats in Cuba – It Wasn’t Sonic Weapons

Man In Doorway

Ben-Gurion University professor Alon Friedman will discuss groundbreaking research at Breaking the Barriers of Brain Science Symposium on October 27, 2019, in New York City.

A new interdisciplinary study on the “Havana Syndrome” led by Dr. Alon Friedman M.D. of Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU) in Israel and Dalhousie University Brain Repair Center in Nova Scotia, Canada, points to overexposure to pesticides as a likely cause for neurological symptoms among Canadian diplomats residing in Havana, Cuba in 2016. This is the first study of its kind focused on Canadian diplomats.

The “Havana Syndrome” was the name given to the symptoms initially believed to be acoustic attacks on U.S. and Canadian embassy staff, first reported in Cuba. Beginning in August 2017, reports surfaced that American and Canadian diplomatic personnel in Cuba had suffered a variety of health problems including headaches and loss of balance, as well as sleep, concentration, and memory difficulties.

To ensure Dr. Friedman and his team’s findings are properly interpreted and understood, Dr. Friedman elected to discuss his research in advance of peer-reviewed publication with the Canadian Broadcasting Service which obtained a draft report to the Canadian government, leaked by an unknown source.

The research will be presented at Breaking the Barriers of Brain Science Symposium in New York on Sunday, October 27. A copy of the paper is posted at medRxiv.

The study details the nature of the injury, specifies the brain regions involved, including the blood-brain barrier and suggests a possible cause in the form of “cholinesterase inhibitors,” with “organophosphorus insecticides” being a likely source. Cholinesterase (ChE) is one of the key enzymes required for the proper functioning of the nervous systems of humans, invertebrates, and insects.

In total, there were 26 Canadian participants: 23 Canadian diplomats and their family members who lived in Havana were included in the study, as well as individuals who didn’t live in Cuba.

“We were also able to test several of the subjects before and after they returned from Cuba,” Dr. Friedman says. “Our team saw changes in the brain that definitely occurred during the time they were in Havana.”

Dr. Friedman and his team attribute the study’s findings to multidisciplinary and quantitative research methods, in particular, their use of new brain imaging tools including advanced Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) techniques and magnetoencephalography.

“We followed the science, and with each discovery we asked ourselves more questions,” said Dr. Friedman. “Pinpointing the exact location of where the brain was injured was an important factor that helped lead us to perform specific biochemical and toxicological blood tests and reach the conclusion that the most likely cause of the injury was repeated exposure to neurotoxins.”

The researchers involved also represented a wide range of disciplines, including neuroscience, neurology, psychiatry, audio-vestibular, ophthalmology, toxicology, and even veterinary medicine.

“The study validates the need for us to continue to learn more about the use of pesticides and other toxins,” said Dr. Friedman. “It is a global health issue that reminds us how much we still have to learn about the impact that toxins have on our health.”

[Editor: Please note the comments below, for responses from other experts that do not agree with this pesticide theory.]


The study was requested and funded by Global Affairs Canada, who partnered with the Nova Scotia Health Authority. Also participating in the study were Dr. Friedman’s group at BGU and Dr. Shamir from The Koret School of Veterinary Medicine at Hebrew University.

Reference: “Havana Syndrome Among Canadian Diplomats: Brain Imaging Reveals Acquired Neurotoxicity” by Alon Friedman, Cynthia Calkin, Amanda Adams, Guillermo Aristi Suarez, Tim Bardouille, Noa Hacohen, A. Laine Green, R. Rishi Gupta, Javeria Hashmi, Lyna Kamintsky, Jong Sung Kim, Robert Laroche, Diane MacKenzie, Dan Milikovsky, Darren Oystreck, Jillian Newton, Greg Noel, Jonathan Ofer, Maher Quraan, Claire Reardon, Margaux Ross, Derek Rutherford, Matthias Schmidt, Yonatan Serlin, Crystal Sweeney, Janine Verge, Leah Walsh and Chris Bowen, 29 September 2019, medRxiv.
DOI: 10.1101/19007096

20 Comments on "Scientists Find What Caused ‘Havana Syndrome’ That Affected Diplomats in Cuba – It Wasn’t Sonic Weapons"

  1. I’m very happy to hear of this discovery since the thought of the ‘attack’ was so scary, but it tells us just how dangerous are all the chemicals we are adding to our atmosphere, food & water supplies – so many chemicals in production are considered ‘safe’ merely because they are only produced or used in very minute amounts – but we may not know exactly what we are doing to ourselves for a century or more. We have been discovering a lot about our environment & our bodies over the past couple of hundred years, but only within the past few years have they understood what ‘we’ individually actually are – a huge ecosystem of billions of bacteria, each of ‘us’ personally being an entirely unique combination of the possible organisms, and any of them subject to evolution at any time, for any possibly unknown reason. I even read recently that any 2 organisms of the same species with the same genetic code CANNOT be relied upon to behave EXACTLY the same in any given circumstance ! Mind boggling ! We should NEVER get too cocky about what we are doing with chemicals & our industrial inventiveness !

  2. Dr Ludwig De Braeckeleer | October 6, 2019 at 12:03 pm | Reply

    Greetings! Two years ago, I coined the expression “Havana Syndrome”. I must say that I do not believe that overexposure to pesticides caused the diplomats’ illness.

    Why would only a limited number of Canadian and American diplomats be affected given that insecticides were deployed aggressively throughout Havana beginning in 2016 to fight the mosquito-born Zika virus?

    Moreover, we have been told that most US diplomats affected by this mysterious illness were in fact intelligence officers. How could neurotoxins differentiate between real diplomats and spooks?

    I asked Professor James Giordano — Departments of Neurology and Biochemistry Georgetown University Medical Center Washington, DC, USA — his views regarding this new study.

    You can read his answer here:

    Havana Syndrome — Pesticide may have caused diplomats’ illness. Really? [UPDATE : Better than the Crickets’ Theory but still implausible]

    Regards, Dr Ludwig De Braeckeleer

  3. I live here in canada in Nova Scotia .
    The name of the insecticide is Ciperside of national production. It is an insecticide that is not harmful to human health, I worked for many years in a hospital in Cuba, and I never received any report of any case with this pathology, the insecteside that is used is not harmful to health, in addition these fumigations are made at home, even with patients with lung cancer without showing any symptoms or side effects. I was exposed to this for a long time, no worker who fumigated medical problems. This study for me is not satisfactory.

  4. In addition, all Cubans would be sick, I work at Dalhousie University, I sent an email to Dr: Friedman, two weeks ago and I had no answer, I am a sign that this study is wrong, I worked 15 years, I was in all command posts in dengue epidemics, and I am 100% sure the insectiside is not. I repeat why the operators of the equipment that do the fumigation are not sick ???

  5. Well well well, I’m little ignorant in this matter, but remember that not al body react the same way to something. Other things is many people are sick but because the symptoms are not Relevant, and they did not hear about it, they just say “I’m little headache, or little pain in my bones, or my back hurt, etc” just when we start hearing the same from others is when we realize that what we have, can be serious. I saw so Dramatic this situation in Havana, forts, because was the News who created a whole history about weapons, and secret service from Russia attacking diplomats,.. I was following that and most of the history was created by Yellow Reporters, they invented history and some of them I remember said that “a unnamed source show me a small sound weapon that is very accurate” I laugh a lot, because in this history applies some popular “When you said a lie 1000 times, that lie become true”

  6. I am a lay person on this subject. But it is well known that the Cubans aggressively disperse insecticides through various methods in their ongoing battle to control dengue spreading mosquitos. Indeed, when traveling there, I’ve been hard pressed to spot ANY insect, unlike in Miami, a locale with similar climate.
    Which again begs the question, why only American and Canadian diplomats, and not general Cuban population, or diplomats from other countries?

  7. This is such a lousy cover up job for the communist regime and their puppet canadian prime minister Castro son. You are going to have to go back to the drawing board and invent a new one because if the fumigations were the cause millions of Cubans, including myself, would be babbling idiots right now. It makes no sense whatsoever

  8. Many of you ask why, if fumigation is the source of the alleged effect, why didn’t all Cubans show it? That’s a very good question. A possible answer can be found here:

    The lead author of the Dalhousie study said: “The report said the diplomats’ illnesses coincided with increased fumigation in and around residences where they lived. One of the authors of the study, the professor Alon Friedman, clarified in an email to Reuters that both Canadian and Cuban authorities were fumigating.”

    Thus, it is possible that Canadian diplomats were expose to more pesticides than the general Cuban population: pesticide from the official fumigation carried out by Cuban authorities, plus the additional fumigation allegedly done by the Canadians.

  9. I agree with most comments here, if the cause of that kinds of symptoms is the chemicals used in the fumigation process against mosquitoes, then, everybody in Cuba should be infected including many diplomats from other countries.

  10. This is so much like a cover up. A smudge to move opinion away from sound weapons and electric magnetic weapons which are directional. And very effective.
    Who paid for this study? Directly or indirectly. Ask that question.
    I’ve done a lot of research on these types of tools or weapons.
    2 types or easy to buy on Internet
    Sonic pain field gun.
    And sonic nausea devices.
    Also microwave weapons can be made by watching utube videos.
    Electric magnetic field weapons are also available and can be made easily. And can affect the brain. Because of the way the brain works. ELECTRIC IMPULSES.

  11. Dr. Reinhard Munzert | October 8, 2019 at 4:18 pm | Reply

    German and European victims are watched in their rooms with microwave-through-the wall-imaging technique (bio-radar). Then high-power microwaves are directed against single persons – or whole rooms are bathed with pulsed microwaves. Targeted persons experience strange “sounds”: microwave auditory-effect or Frey-effect, which works with electromagnetic waves. The heads, hearts or other organs of the victims are for some time attacked with microwave energy (different frequencies). The microwaves enter the body and hurt, vibrate or damage skin and organs. Some of the victims have already died. Microwaves can also damage or destroy electronic devices like computers. All this is very terrible. Dr. Munzert, Germany

  12. Read all the comments. It is interesting how people simplify causality. In reality the cause of a medical problem tends to be multifactorial! Why specific people- diplomats, have the symptoms?
    Hypothesis : like a chest game problem, that checkmate has to be in three plays… then if the chemicals are responsible , yet do not affect the general population, the diplomats may have something that is no common for the rest of the population ! An that must interact in a special way with the chemicals to make them toxic….follow?
    The answer: swimming pools and chlorine…
    its just a hypothesis that i made up. The point is that for all of those that simplify causality and believe that politics taint all reality: my advise is listen, read, think and then act. By the way, me= physician graduated in cuba, work in cuba, get exposed to all kinds of pesticides, now working as a primary care provider for 20 years in NYC.

  13. Dr Ludwig De Braeckeleer | October 11, 2019 at 3:14 am | Reply

    Greetings! Intel Today has posted an update on this story. Contrary to what was reported by MSM, Temephos — pesticide detected in the body of the diplomats — is not used for fumigation.

    This brings an obvious question that MSM have yet to raise… Which pesticide was actually used in Cuba to fight the Zika virus?

    According to a well informed source, the insecticide used by the Cuban authorities in recent years is Ciperside.

    Havana Syndrome — The Fifth Estate : Investigating what made the diplomats sick [Documentary]

  14. i visited havana around this time for two weeks (i was brought from the US to play at a music festival in may 2016) and when i returned home i started suffering these very symptoms, but also seizures. also my vision was affected. my eyes would cross for maybe a minute or so, then my vision would return to normal. i would really love to be in touch w/one of the doctors involved in this study!

  15. How are you all feeling about this now?😁

  16. Richard DiBenedetto | November 23, 2020 at 1:24 pm | Reply

    This phenomena has been around since the Soviets used microwaves against the US Embassy in Moscow in the early 1970’s. The US used a version of this technology during the Vietnam War. An explanation that overexposure to pesticides is responsible is a cover-up of dangerous biological weaponization of the electromagnetic spectrum which is justifiably intended to remain classified. US experimentation on unconsenting victims occurred throughout the 1960’s and 1970’s. Desperate research done by tortured victims for their own sanity has been summed up in Sheryl Welch’s website:

  17. i have been a victim of a Microwave Attack in Romania Spring 2020

  18. I believe that my immigrant neighbors have been sending the Havana Syndrome through my walls and ceilings. It is strange music like high-frequency sounds that go all night! You can not pick the exact spot where it comes from and also some metal rhythm sounds, it’s going on right now. This is been happening for at least six or so months. Whenever a neighbor or someone comes in they stop it. I am a disabled senior woman that has enough to deal w/and I am so concerned about getting more brain damage! Who out there can help!!!

  19. I’m in a similar situation, Karen P Caruso. It started really bad in December, 2017 when i lived 1400 feet from the end of a runwayin an Executive Airport in FLagler County, FL. Over 500 small student aircraft flew over our roof and lower, i didn’t know how to stop the screeching in my brain / All students from other nations had infiltrated our county . No one would get the flight schools from these nations, some of which we are in warfare with today, it didn’t happen to others, yet i collapsed. Then, the city installed all the 5G tall poles, with the 15-20 feet smaller antenaes, right outside our fence. I have been bedridden since ; no doctor can succinctly say what is wrong with me. All the symptoms of havana syndrome, and it’s so debiltating; we moved to an apt. complex in Macon, GA, and now i guess i get all the people’s wifi into our little space. I agree, WHO OUT THERE CAN HELP???? Thanks for writing, it gave me the courage to comment.

  20. Stephen Kiraly | August 17, 2022 at 8:53 am | Reply

    The title of this article doesn’t belong on a website that claims to be about science. “Scientist proposes alternate theory for what causes Havana Syndrome” would be more appropriate. I guess it depends on what sort of website you want to be. One that uses sensationalism to peddle conspiracy theories and pseudoscience, or something more respectable.

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