The term 'quake brain' is now another kiwi saying that has become associated with the Canterbury quakes similar to 'munted' and 'kia haha'.
Though many of us can certainly relate to it - not everyone knows who experiences it, what it is. Quake brain has been described as a 'mental hangover' from the stresses that the earthquakes caused. Brain fog, fatigue, irritability, the inability to put words into sentences are just some of the symptoms experienced. It has been associated with significant impairment in memory and functions such as emotional processing. A recent study also found that Cantabrians who had experienced the earthquakes also had significant poorer visual memory than others. There are many more issues such as PTSD and anxiety issues that are associated with traumatic events such as these. Recently funding has been extended to conduct further research and I look forward to solutions that may be presented in due course.
It is important to recognise 'quake brain' as it demonstrates that the term 'resilience' so often used to describe human's ability to cope with trauma is not recognising the fact that we are also suffering. We often say we are 'fine' when in reality, we are not. We often suffer in silence and the longer term issues of poor mental health are swept under the carpet. Yes, we are resilient. We were stoic, we coped, we went back to work, school and carried on. However, we also need to acknowledge there are issues. Only when you see the problem, can you strive to resolve it.
One notable, local researcher in recent years, Prof Julia Rucklidge, has been working to help people struggling with mental health. Her research into nutrition and its affects in mental health have been ground breaking in that the connection between these two are clearly demonstrated. Naturopaths and Nutritionists has long recognised the connection with good nutrition and mental health and we appreciate research being conducted into this vital area. If you are interested, Prof Rucklidge is often looking for research participants and can be contacted at Te Puna Toiora: Mental Health and Nutrition Research at Canterbury University.
Stay well and eat well ❤️🥕🥦🥑🍎
Photo credit: Ryan Bruce
Samira Manners - registered naturopath, medical herbalist and nutritionist.