Post-earthquake Dizziness Syndrome

Major earthquakes are often followed by a significant number of aftershocks. But this quakes not only have destructive effects on the environment, but also have some largely unknown physical and psychological effects on the humans that experience them.
Significant outbreaks of dizziness occurred after an major earthquake. This is now called the Post-earthquake Dizziness Syndrome. However it is unclear why major earthquake causes dizziness.

A trial on equilibrium dysfunction and psychological states associated with equilibrium dysfunction in individuals exposed to repetitive aftershocks versus those who were rarely exposed[1]. 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.

The scientific results seem indicate potential effects of autonomic stress on equilibrium function after major earthquake. The 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.

Post-earthquake Dizziness Syndrome is an earthquake-induced disequilibrium that may be further influenced by physical stressors, including sensory disruptions induced by earthquake vibrations, changes in living conditions, and autonomic stress[2].

Maybe the Post-earthquake Dizziness Syndrome can be partly seen as a surface-based version of the Mal de Débarquement Syndrome.

[1] Miwa et al: Post-earthquake dizziness syndrome following the 2016 Kumamoto earthquakes, Japan in PLoS One – 2021. See here.
[2] Motoyashu et al: Disturbances in equilibrium function after major earthquake in Science Reports – 2012. See here.

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