With more than 300 contributions and broad consensus on inconsistencies in hypotheses about alleged sonic attacks on U.S. diplomatic personnel in Havana, the first day of an online forum of scientists and experts in different fields concluded yesterday.
The Cuban Science Network's website hosted the debate that will continue today.
According to U.S. authorities, diplomatic personnel in Havana reported symptoms which they attribute to "sonic attacks." Those affected described hearing sounds within their residences, and experiencing symptoms ranging from nausea, headaches, dizziness, hearing loss, and facial pain to stomach aches, memory problems, and concussions.
The online forum focused on three basic questions. Could the symptoms described be the result of sonic agents? Could other illnesses cause such symptoms? Does the possibility exist that the symptoms were of a psychological origin?
Dr. Manuel Jorge Villar Kuscevic, Cuban otorhinolaryngologist and professor, responded to a question from Granma regarding the recordings of sounds leaked by the U.S. media, which supposedly caused health problems.
Villar, also the head of Otorhinolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery at Enrique Cabrera Hospital, explained that the process of analysis undertaken when the recordings were received, noting that none of the sounds reached 74.6 decibels, and could not cause damage to human health.
PhD physicist Carlos Barceló Pérez, professor at the Institute of Hygiene, Epidemiology and Microbiology, described the kinds of sounds that could possibly cause harm, noting that a person exposed to sounds on the order of 85 decibels, over a long period of time, could begin to experience hearing loss, while a sudden, explosive sound can damage the ear drum, and lead to permanent damage.
There is no evidence of exposure to such sounds.
Dr. Michel Valdés-Sosa, director of Cuba's Neurosciences Center, described accepted scientific principles to evaluate evidence, used to support any conclusion. The data must be shared so that it can be verified and replicated by others, "Open information, objective evidence, and independent replication are three elements accepted internationally in any investigation," he concluded.