Mātai News

Beautiful on the inside and out

Turanga FM, February 2022

Tūranga FM Breakfast co-hosts Rāhia Timutimu and Mātai Smith visit Mātai

Recently Tūranga FM Breakfast co-hosts Rāhia Timutimu and Mātai Smith visited Mātai Research as part of their regular weekly filming for their popular ‘Parakuihi’ online show, which showed Rāhia getting an MRI scan done on her brain. Smith had already had his one done back in September 2020 and had some great results, which said he had a good brain on him! ‘I enjoyed the experience so much back then and recall mine took about 45 minutes back then but upon arriving to Mātai with Rāhia, Paul Condron informed me that because new technology developed meant it was a bit faster now which is fantastic and shows how lucky we are to have this machine here in Gisborne!” He went on to say that Rāhia had always wanted to get one done! “She’s been amping to see if she too has the ‘grey matter’ that matters to try and match me, so when the opportunity came to film it, she was literally ready to MRI – or ‘move-run immediately’ so as to ascertain the results of her brain!”

Ably assisted by Taylor and Paul from Mātai, Rāhia was made to feel at ease and they also explained in detail what she was to expect when she’s in the machine being scanned, she even had the choice of listening to Tūranga FM if she so wished, but instead opted for an episode of ‘Friends’ on Netflix.

After approximately 30 minutes, it was all done and Rāhia was surprised at how quickly it was done including her results which were almost instant!

Rahia said “I went into Mātai for a brain scan, not knowing what to expect. My colleague Mātai Smith had been through this as Mātai are always on the lookout for willing volunteers, so I put my hand up. It was an easy procedure, it didn’t hurt at all and I got to watch my favourite Netflix series under a comfy blanket. If you have kids you would understand the pure joy this was to get to watch Netflix, uninterrupted, it felt like heaven. I then got the results of my scan, it was awesome to see it in 3D. Many thanks to the team at Mātai, the next time you’re wanting volunteers for anything else I’ll be there.”

The image of Rāhia’s brain shows resting state functional MRI, which can provide insights into brain activity through measuring changes in blood flow throughout the brain. Activating brain cells uses up energy, which means blood needs to be delivered to refuel the cells. By measuring this relationship between activation and blood flow it is possible to learn about how networks of brain regions work together. The coloured areas in this image specifically depict the Default Mode Network of the brain which is primarily active when we aren’t focussed on a specific task or activity. This “resting state” of the brain may hold the answers to understanding differences in brain function between people with and without neurological conditions. We’d really like to thank Davidson, Taylor, Paul Condron and also Josh who provided more detail around Rāhia’s brain scan and would highly recommend anyone keen to give it a go to contact the team at Mātai. We would also like to thank Dexter Waru and Hataraka Gibson from Waru Productions Ltd for helping develop the video.