Breaking the Full Moon Myths

The moon has an important place in our culture, andit is not surprising that a huge number of myths are associated with it - from stories about werewolves to tales of sleepwalkers. “There must have been a full moon!” Is a phrase that often accompanies stories about out-of-the-ordinary events.

The effects of the moon on human health and behaviorbeen investigated for many years. However, a rigorous statistical analysis did not reveal any tangible relationships between the phases of the moon and the human condition. Those studies that allegedly proved such dependencies turned out to be either irreproducible or recognized as incorrect.

Test results for known exposure mythsThe moon on humans has been repeatedly published in peer-reviewed journals. So, in the publication “Epilepsy & Behavior” in 2004 a work was presented exploring the relationship of the full moon with the number of seizures in patients with epilepsy. Despite the claims of some epileptics that seizures occur more often with the full moon, a rigorous statistical analysis did not reveal such a correlation. Researchers note that even from ancient times people preferred to explain attacks by involvement of patients in black magic and the influence of supernatural forces, neglecting the scientific approach.

Research by Mayo Clinic Specialists,published in 2005 in the journal Psychiatric Services, it included a count of the number of patients admitted to the psychiatric ward from 18:00 to 6:00 for several years. According to the study, on the full moon night, the number of new patients did not go beyond the statistical norm.

Scientists came to similar results,analyzing the statistics of emergency medical care. After processing an array of data on 11,940 cases, the researchers did not reveal a relationship between the full moons and the number of new patients. The results of this work were published in the American Journal of Emergency Medicine in 1996.

Does the full moon affect surgical outcomes?operations? Maybe doctors and nurses are becoming more diffused these days? If you believe the work published in 2009 in the journal Anesthesiology, you can safely discard such concerns. In fact, the risk remains constant, no matter what date and day of the week your surgery is scheduled.

Of course, there are studies, resultswhich are much less unambiguous. For example, two works are known in which the influence of the lunar phases on the aggressive behavior of animals was examined. Both articles were published in the British Medical Journal in 2001. The authors of the first study found that more Britons were bitten by dogs on the full moon than on other days. However, statistics on Australia, which formed the basis of the second work, allow us to draw a different conclusion: the number of dog attacks does not depend on the current lunar phase.

Why, in spite of sound scientific arguments,are myths about the mystical influence of the moon on man so tenacious? Benjamin Radford, columnist for Bad Science, answers this question as follows: “Expectations determine our perceptions. We tend to notice only what confirms our beliefs. "