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Introduction to Anomalous Health Incidents (AHIs)

Unraveling the Mystery of Anomalous Health Incidents

“Neurological Illness and National Security: Lessons to Be Learned” by David A. Relman, MD


Anomalous Health Incidents, or AHIs, refer to a set of troubling neurological symptoms first reported in 2016 by US government personnel in Havana, Cuba. These symptoms include sudden and intense sounds perceived in the head, sensations of pressure, and a range of physical responses such as vertigo, dizziness, and cognitive dysfunction. Notably, these symptoms displayed strong location dependence, dissipating when individuals moved away from specific locations and returning upon their return.

The Challenge of Understanding AHIs

Studying AHIs has been fraught with challenges, including the unusual nature of the symptoms, incomplete information, nonstandardized clinical testing, delayed reporting, and the sensitive context of the incidents. These obstacles have complicated efforts to understand, diagnose, and treat AHIs, leading to a pressing need for more standardized and comprehensive approaches.

Recent Studies on AHIs

Recent efforts by researchers at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) involved extensive clinical assessments and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) studies of individuals affected by AHIs. Despite these efforts, findings have shown few significant differences between affected individuals and control participants, challenging previous studies that suggested neurological abnormalities. These discrepancies highlight the complexity of AHIs and the need for further research.

Theories and Investigations

Investigations into the cause of AHIs have considered a range of potential mechanisms, with directed, pulsed radiofrequency energy being a prominent theory. Despite this, opinions within the scientific and intelligence communities vary, with some attributing symptoms to preexisting conditions or environmental factors. The discussion reflects broader uncertainties and controversies in understanding AHIs.

Underlying Issues in AHI Research

AHI research is hindered by several factors, including clinical heterogeneity, the absence of precise case definitions, and the variability in symptom onset and assessment. These issues underscore the necessity for novel diagnostic approaches and more refined methods of categorization, potentially leveraging artificial intelligence and unsupervised learning techniques.

Biological Effects of Electromagnetic and Acoustic Energy

Historical and ongoing research has explored the biological effects of electromagnetic and acoustic energy on the brain. Mechanisms such as thermoelastic pressure waves and magnetic field effects have been proposed to explain the symptoms associated with AHIs. This area of research suggests potential directions for understanding and possibly treating AHIs.

National Security Concerns and Research Directions

The implications of AHIs for national security have prompted calls for coordinated research efforts to explore the cellular, tissue, and clinical effects of focused, pulsed forms of electromagnetic and acoustic energy. Such efforts aim to clarify the mechanisms behind AHIs and develop effective diagnostics and treatments.

Challenges and Solutions

Addressing AHIs is complicated by factors such as uncertainty, complexity, misinformation, and political sensitivities. To overcome these challenges, proposals include enhancing surveillance systems, fostering transdisciplinary research, improving public communication, and ensuring timely, nonjudgmental care for affected individuals.


The phenomenon of Anomalous Health Incidents presents a complex challenge that intersects health, science, and national security. As we continue to explore these incidents, it is crucial to maintain an open-minded and collaborative approach, drawing on a wide range of disciplines and perspectives. The lessons learned from investigating AHIs will not only aid those directly affected but also enhance our collective ability to respond to similar enigmatic syndromes in the future.

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