Social Impact

Mātai Lab’s core research and expertise will complement and aid multiple areas of research.


Head injuries, including mTBI/concussion, can have a profound effect on mental health, and on social and family relationships. However, there is no clear test for concussion.

Mātai’s is working on advanced imaging methods for diagnosing mTBI. Our goal is to improve the diagnosis and management of mTBI by providing a objective test that can be easily accessed.
As Mātai’s research capacity grows, the imaging methods that Mātai is developing for mTBI could be used for other research applications, including:

  • Understanding brain physiology, brain injury and disorders
  • Basic science research into interventional methodologies
  • Brain injury rehabilitation
  • Neurodegenerative disease and stroke
  • Neuropsychiatric disorders


Mātai’s researchers have strength in novel neuroimaging of brain structure, physiology, and function.

MRI has shown to be able to pick up changes in white matter fibre connections. Functional MRI, which probes altered cognitive processes, also holds promise for measuring altered brain activity non-invasively. This opens up a number of neuroscience applications that are looking to pick up subtle changes in the injured brain.


In the future, we will work towards the development of a Child Health Index to provide a facility to measure the health of different communities from the tamariki perspective.

Research is increasingly showing that adverse childhood events and lower self-control levels in childhood are associated with developing health and social issues in adulthood.

A Child Health Index may well provide an indicator of disease burden for communities as well as an early barometer as to whether any intervention is improving the overall health in that community.

This research into the base health and mental health of our children through a CHI, will serve as part of a holistic approach to caring for our tamariki.