Well Being

Full Moons Won’t Make You Cray-Cray, Say Scientists

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Urban legend holds that full moons cause increases in lunacy, labor pains, suicide and murder, but … not so much. A team of researchers from Quebec's Université Laval have published a study saying lunar stages don't mean crap to people's moods or psychiatric states.

Led by psychologist Geneviève Belleville, the researchers looked at nearly 800 patients who visited emergency rooms at Montreal’s Sacré-Coeur Hospital and Hôtel-Dieu de Lévis complaining of medically inexplicable chest pains. Psychological evaluations showed a lot these patients had anxiety, panic attacks, mood disorders and suicidal thoughts.

After connecting the visits with which phase of the moon during which they occured, the team found almost no link between incidences of psych problems and any of the four lunar phases. Anxiety disorders were less frequent during the last lunar quarter, which Belleville said may be coincidental or due to factors not taken into account.

“But one thing is certain: We observed no full-moon or new-moon effect on psychological problems.”

According to the Université Laval press release, 80% of nurses and 64% of physicians are convinced that the lunar cycle affects the mental health of patients. That may be the most surprising part of this study, in which results line up with several previous studies showing no link between lunar phases or full moons and suicide, calls to crisis centers, domestic violence, psychiatric admissions and violent crimes.

“We hope that our results will encourage health professionals to put that idea aside,” said Belleville. “Otherwise, this belief may, on the one hand, to color their judgment during the full moon and, secondly, to train them to be less alert to the psychological problems for the rest of the month.”