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Cuban Blindness: Diary of a Mysterious Neuropathy Epidemic

By: , Posted on: March 27, 2017

cuban blindness

On May 4, 1993, Cuba asked the international health community and the World Health Organization (WHO) to find the cause of a mysterious epidemic of blindness that was spreading uncontrollably.

Contradictory hypotheses confronted the team of scientists on this mission. Is the epidemic the result of a plot to topple Castro, as the Cubans believe? Or exposure to radioactivity or an unidentified nerve toxin accidentally released by the Russian Army withdrawing from Cuba?

cuban blindness

Cuban Blindness: Diary of a Mysterious Epidemic Neuropathy is a firsthand account of the epidemic of blindness and the hardships of life in Cuba at the time of the “special period” that followed the collapse of the Soviet Union and the tightening of the US embargo. The author, Dr. Gustavo Román—who was at the time Chief of Neuroepidemiology at the US National Institutes of Health—was a participant in this scientific mission and describes the neurological symptoms experienced by the victims of this epidemic disease, and narrates the epidemiologists’ detective work struggling to solve the mystery.

This book combines neuroscience and scientific discovery with political intrigue, finally bringing the reader to the unexpected solution provided by a WWII survivor of Changi POW Camp in Singapore.

We are pleased to offer a complementary download of the author’s Prologue, which is actually his diary, where he reviews the achievements of the year and looks at 1992 with uncertainty.

Fill out this brief form to access the prologue of Cuban Blindness

Additional chapters from this fascinating book are available for download on Science Direct Cuban Blindness. If you would prefer to purchase a print or e-copy for your personal library, visit the Elsevier website. Apply discount code STC317 at checkout to receive up to 30% off the list price and free global shipping.

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The scientific study of the nervous system is entering a new golden age. Researchers and clinicians continue to advance the treatment of conditions such as Alzheimer’s syndrome, Parkinson’s disease, epilepsy, and traumatic brain injury. Public initiatives like the federal Brain Research Through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies (BRAIN) program in the United States, announced in April 2013, ensure that funding and resources will continue to be applied to this rapidly growing field. Elsevier’s journals, books, eBooks, online references, and tools are respected around the world for everything from physiology and pathology to behavioral genetics and nerve repair. Our publications are a gateway to the latest advancements in neuroscience research and leading-edge data for professionals, students, and academics alike.

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