Doctors say victims of U.S. embassy attacks in Cuba showing brain abnormalities

FILE - In this Aug. 14, 2015, file photo, a U.S. flag flies at the U.S. embassy in Havana, Cuba. The Associated Press has learned that frightening attacks on U.S. personnel in Havana struck the heart of America's spy network in Cuba, with intelligence operatives among the first and most severely affected victims. Individuals familiar with the situation say it wasn't until U.S. spies, posted to the embassy under diplomatic cover, reported hearing bizarre sounds and even stranger physical effects that the United States realized something was wrong. (AP Photo/Desmond Boylan, File)

WASHINGTON (AP) — Doctors treating the U.S. Embassy victims of mysterious, invisible attacks in Cuba have discovered brain abnormalities as they search for clues to explain the hearing, vision, balance and memory damage, The Associated Press has learned.

It’s the most specific finding to date about physical damage, showing that whatever it was that harmed the Americans, it led to perceptible changes in their brains. The finding is also one of several factors fueling growing skepticism that some kind of sonic weapon was involved.

Medical testing has revealed the embassy workers developed changes to the white matter tracts that let different parts of the brain communicate, several U.S. officials said, describing a growing consensus held by university and government physicians researching the attacks. White matter acts like information highways between brain cells.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson says the United States is convinced that the incidents harming the health of U.S. Embassy workers in Cuba were “targeted attacks.”

Tillerson is pushing back on Cuba’s complaints that the U.S. hasn’t shared enough information to let Cuban authorities investigate. He says the U.S. has shared some information but that he’s put two restrictions in place.

Tillerson says he won’t share information that violates individuals’ privacy or reveals their medical conditions. And he says he won’t release information that helps the perpetrator determine how effective the attacks were.

Tillerson says he understands the Cubans don’t like the actions the U.S. has taken in response. But he says the United States doesn’t like having its diplomats come under attack.

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