More than 60 percent of doctors and 80 percent of nurses believe that the lunar cycle has an impact on psychological problems. But a new study by Université Laval researchers is lending weight to the argument against that theory.
Professor Geneviève Belleville and her team looked at the relationship between the different phases of the moon and the number of patients who show up at hospital emergency rooms with psychological problems.
Their analysis showed no link between the incidence of psychological problems and the four lunar phases: new moon, first quarter, full moon, and last quarter.
“We hope our results will encourage health professionals to put that idea to rest,” said Belleville in a news release.
“Otherwise, this misperception could, on the one hand, colour their judgment during the full moon phase; or, on the other hand, make them less attentive to psychological problems that surface during the remainder of the month.”
Researchers looked at patients visiting emergency rooms at two Montreal hospitals between March 2005 and April 2008, and focused on 771 individuals reporting chest pains for which no medical cause could be determined.
A significant number of these patients were found to suffer from various psychological issues, including panic attacks and suicidal thoughts.
The researchers then cross-referenced the visits of these individuals with the moon phase that was present at the time using lunar calendars to perform their analysis.
There was one exception to their analysis, however—anxiety disorders were 32 percent less frequent during the last quarter phase.
“This may be coincidental or due to factors that we did not take into account,” said Belleville.
“But one thing is certain: we observed no full-moon or new-moon effect on psychological problems.”
The study is published in the General Hospital Psychiatry journal.