Canada sending home families of diplomats in Cuba after cases of ‘new type’ of brain injury

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Canada is designating Cuba an “unaccompanied post” — meaning diplomats’ families will not be allowed to live with them in the country during a posting — because of new information about mysterious symptoms suffered by Canadian and U.S. diplomats and their families.

Canadian diplomatic staff in Havana were informed of the decision Monday morning. The federal government has made arrangements to bring family members home in the coming weeks.

Ten Canadians in Cuba have experienced symptoms — including headaches, dizziness, nausea and difficulty concentrating — according to government officials who briefed reporters in Ottawa Monday.

‘A new type of … brain injury’

A new report by a Canadian medical specialist raises the possibility that some of the Canadians have experienced a “new type of possible acquired brain injury.” A senior government official said that this injury is new to science.

“The cause remains unknown but could be human-made,” said a media release from Global Affairs.

Dr. Douglas Smith, director of the Center for Brain Injury and Repair at the University of Pennsylvania’s Perelman School of Medicine, has evaluated 24 affected Americans and found their symptoms similar to those of a traumatic brain injury.

This is something that looks like persistent concussion symptoms — in individuals that have no history of head impact,” he said in an interview. “And yet they look almost exactly like the patients we would see in an concussion clinic.​

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