HAVANA, CUBA—A coma conference is still alive in Cuba, despite a decision last week by the US Treasury Department that kept nearly 100 American researchers from attending the meeting.

At the modern conference center on the outskirts of Havana, Calixto Machado, the lead organizer of the Fourth International Symposium on Coma and Death, said the American presence is sorely missed. "These are important personalities that are not here," said Machado, who is with the Institute of Neurology and Neurosurgery in Havana. "This has certainly affected the level of conference."

The international symposium drew more than 50 American researchers when it was last held in Cuba in 2000. But attendance at the conference was essentially cut by a third, Machado said, after the US Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control denied special travel visas late last week.

Americans are forbidden to travel to Cuba unless they are given special permission,...

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