> The real cause may be more surprising.
If it is a psychogenic thing, I wonder if that partially explains it. The embassy was opened and cooperation between US and Cuba increased during the Obama years. After Trump was elected, the writing was on the wall for the continued cooperation and the fate of the embassy. What was expected to be a fun and exciting post to a Caribbean, now turned into a dead-end position with everyone possibly soon shuffled back to desk jobs until the next reassignment.
And the suddenly everyone is shuffled to the SCIF, all huddled together, and they are told "we are under attack, something mysterious, possibly Russians is frying our brains. Also don't tell anyone about this". That's a lot of stress, uncertainty, and anxiety. It would put even the most cool headed people into a hyper-vigilant state.
I know someone who had a habit cough for a while. That's a very physical and real symptom that can affect someone quality of life quite bit. So as the article says, just because it is psychogenic doesn't mean it is benign, made up, and not serious.
The resemblance with the acronym FUD is striking. The problem of FUD is indeed, that itself has an effect. FUD can lead to a desirable effect by the perpetrator(s).
If I asked a thousand people on the street "Do you remember when you were debilitated by a strange noise and suffered mental problems for days afterwards?" What percentage would experience the psychogenic trauma? Is that the idea? That the diplomats just had this trauma "suggested" to them and therefore believe in it?
There's some significant skepticism/criticism of the claims of impairment and physical brain trauma:
You'd find a few percent of adults who can hear above the 17khz range who are plagued by buildings with bird deterrant signals. And professionals that can hear poorly made transformers used in fluorescent lights and major electronics.
Anecdotally, my worst cases were the home Depot bird deterrer in a garden center, that every 5 seconds I would wince and lose my balance and much peripheral perception. And in an accelerator cohort of 40 20-40 year olds, 2 of us had to hunt down the tv with a loud transformer in the open office room while being thought insane by the rest of our cohort.
There are a range of production LTL weapons that are used for riot control that use directed/focused microwave transmitters.
It’s not unreasonable to think that US adversaries have developed similar LTL weapons.
Many small/portable systems exist for use by the military/police/secret service to disrupt UAVs up to several kilometres away.
It’s within the realm of possibility that an adversary of the US is applying some form of LTL weapon in certain locales.
There is also a theoretical possibility a substance used to mark known/suspected intelligence officers could cause the reactions described.
This is based on the 80’s era KGB “Spy Dust” marking agent story.
Perhaps such substances have evolved in both capability and side-effects.
Also, physical assault against diplomats is quite a bridge to cross. The Russians are known to harass diplomats, but not in this way -
> Russian intruders had broken into their homes late at night, only to rearrange the furniture or turn on all the lights and televisions, and then leave. One diplomat reported that an intruder had defecated on his living room carpet.
Also, the Russians physically assaulted U.S. embassy personnel who were CIA under diplomatic cover. Right after 9/11, the CIA was on a heavy recruiting campaign so they gave permission for some former agents to tell some (general) stories. The CIA agent who first made contact with Victor Shemov, then a professor at Texas A&M, told us the story of that night. He had to shake his four man KGB tail, don a disguise, and meet Shemov. When he returned to the U.S. embassy, the KGB intercepted him and beat him to a pulp.
They hate our freedoms: our freedom of religion, our freedom of speech, our freedom to vote and assemble and disagree with each other.
>…groups of doctors specialising in neurology, neuropsychiatry and neuropsychology described what they believed were major flaws in the study.
edit: these things in past were accidents, it could have been one again, "Sonic attack" may have been two ultrasonic signals accidentally interfering, Mar 4, 2018:
Does qualify you for some free VA healthcare though...
The evidence for "gulf war syndrome" is underwhelming, but that is a long discussion. The specific diagnoses that can be accepted as service connected by the VA in relation to Gulf War service are all 'mystery diseases', like fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome.
Likewise, the links between Agent Orange and actual human illness 30-40 years later is ... tenuous. The "National Academy of Sciences" has found such links more likely than not for multiple conditions (diabetes, coronary atherosclerosis, multiple myeloma, etc) but the science backing these findings are a bit tenuous - "more likely than not" is not typically the standard of evidence required for a 'scientific finding'. But the VA is trying to 'do the right thing' and that may cost taxpayers $$$$$, but so it goes!
They have always been real.
Having a mental illness is not a weakness. But the problem with the term psychogenic is history teaches us it probably doesn't exist, and if it did exist, we could never truly be confident of it.
Through the history of medicine we have had illnesses come up such as Multiple Sclerosis, that contemporary medicine at the time failed to understand, and falsely believing they somehow had good enough testing at the time that if they couldn't find anything wrong with someone then there could be nothing wrong, they label it a psychogenic problem. This happened over and over and over again. You'd think medicine would learn. On top of that psychology also over history has had this weird obsession with trying to fill the void in these cases, with big psychologists/psychiatrists seemingly trying to claim new territory in the name of their field.
The idea of the functional disorder presented in the story is testable in this case. (It doesn't make sense to me given the symptoms described but assuming it did). Take these patients, send them to this magical school that they said fixes people's functional disorders, and let's see if they recover. But please do not blame any of these people if they don't recover after this treatment, as is usually what happens when the labels functional disorder and psychogenic are applied. (You're not trying hard enough, you're not believing in the cure enough, etc.)
Conversion disorder is a particularly despicable label to give someone that for some reason some neurologist still do, usually because they can't just admit they don't know what's wrong. (See Jen Brea's story.)
That's absolutely ridiculous. Its absurd to deny reality to preserve people's feelings. One can acknowledge that mental illness is a form of weakness without treating people poorly. The problem doesn't come from the fact that people consider mental illness as a form of weakness, but from the fact that mental illness makes people less resilient to life's trials.
Pretending there's nothing wrong with being mentally ill doesn't do anyone any favors; in fact I'd argue it's worse than acknowledgement as it may discourage treatment at least as much as the current stigma.
I think the only one being a jerk here is you. Perhaps your definition of weakness needs adjustment, since you seem to conflate it with choice.
Then in real life, some people do react that way when people have the courage to admit to it, and if people are made to believe their symptoms are a character flaw, then again, no treatment, only people feeling bad.
I didn't make this stuff up, I've seen it happen.
And it doesn't happen to people from "their weakness". It is a very jerk move, and absurd, to go anywhere near that phrasing. Just as we don't get cancer or a broken leg from being weak people.
There are correlations with genetics that can make someone predisposed etc. but it is absolutely wrong thinking to say it happens because of "weakness", it is, however unfortunate, a natural part of the spectrum of human condition.
That's too broad to remain true in all cases. You have to defined what is a weakness to what, or you're just making a meaningless laconic statement.
I have no aorta (due to a malformed aorta at birth). It's particularly good defense against an aortic dissection and guarantees no aortic aneurysm. If you have no arms or legs, good luck getting meta-carpal syndrome.
The point is that you've made a flippant comment with the misplaced expectation that it equates to wisdom.
Disagree. Some mental illnesses are temporary.
For example some people will only have a single psychotic episode that will not recur: https://www.webmd.com/schizophrenia/guide/mental-health-brie...
I imagine a lot of mental illnesses that do not involve psychosis are sometimes this way too, but this is the one that came to mind where the temporary aspect is literally part of the name.
Other than that... People can respond well to treatment, and many of the disorders are episodic, with the episodes being temporary.