'Havana Syndrome' Study Involves Dozens of Ferrets

Pentagon-funded research is trying to recreate symptoms using radio waves
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 10, 2023 8:45 AM CST
Pentagon Is Funding 'Havana Syndrome' Animal Experiments
Tourists ride classic convertible cars on the Malecon beside the United States Embassy in Havana, Cuba, Oct. 3, 2017.   (AP Photo/Desmond Boylan, File)

A recent report from US intelligence agencies stated that there was no "credible evidence" that Havana Syndrome was caused by any "foreign adversary"—but unfortunately for lab animals including dozens of ferrets, research is still in progress. Politico reports that according to insiders and public documents, the Pentagon is funding research into whether radio frequency waves could be causing the unexplained symptoms reported by US personnel overseas, including headaches, dizziness, hearing loss, and nausea. Records show that the Army awarded Wayne State University a $750,000 grant in September to study the effect the waves have on ferrets, which have brains similar to those of humans.

The study will try to determine whether the exposure causes symptoms to those reported by US personnel in Havana and other overseas locations, according to grant documents. Politico's sources say the Pentagon has also tested pulsed radio frequency sources on primates. Regulations on animal testing are a lot stricter than they used to be and the sources say the research would not have been approved without " extremely solid science" to back up the radio wave theory.

The description of the Wayne State study on the Defense Technical Information Center’s public database mentions "acquired neurosensory syndrome, commonly referred to as the Havana Syndrome" and notes that victims have "symptoms ... resembling someone who has had a concussive head injury." PETA vice president Shalin Gala said the organization was "disturbed" by reports of the research. Gala argued that the justification for the primate study and the "current $750,000 taxpayer-funded brain injury experiment that bombards 48 ferrets with radio waves" has been "debunked." (More Havana syndrome stories.)

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