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Sci Rep. 2012;2:749. doi: 10.1038/srep00749. Epub 2012 Oct 19.

Disturbances in equilibrium function after major earthquake.

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  • 1Department of Adult Mental Health, National Institute of Mental Health, National Center of Neurology and Psychiatry, 4-1-1 Ogawa-Higashi, Kodaira, Tokyo 187-8553, Japan. mhonma@ncnp.go.jp

Abstract

Major earthquakes were followed by a large number of aftershocks and significant outbreaks of dizziness occurred over a large area. However it is unclear why major earthquake causes dizziness. We conducted an intergroup trial on equilibrium dysfunction and psychological states associated with equilibrium dysfunction in individuals exposed to repetitive aftershocks versus those who were rarely exposed. Greater equilibrium dysfunction was observed in the aftershock-exposed group under conditions without visual compensation. Equilibrium dysfunction in the aftershock-exposed group appears to have arisen from disturbance of the inner ear, as well as individual vulnerability to state anxiety enhanced by repetitive exposure to aftershocks. We indicate potential effects of autonomic stress on equilibrium function after major earthquake. Our findings may contribute to risk management of psychological and physical health after major earthquakes with aftershocks, and allow development of a new empirical approach to disaster care after such events.

PMID:
23087814
[PubMed]
PMCID:
PMC3475992
Free PMC Article

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