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Full Moon Has No Effect on Psychological Problems, Study Shows

Nov 25, 2012 04:45 AM EST
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Mental health in the workplace - by the numbers

A new study has debunked the popular myth which suggests a link between lunar cycles and the prevalence of psychological problems in humans.

A team of researchers led by professor Genevieve Belleville of Université Laval's School of Psychology, Canada, have found that there is no relationship between the lunar phases and mental health problems.

The research team examined 771 individuals who visited hospital emergency rooms between March 2005 and April 2008 citing health issues like chest pain, for which no medical cause could be established. A psychological test was carried out on the patients and the results suggested that they suffered from anxiety disorders, panic attacks, mood disorders or suicidal thoughts.

When researchers cross-checked the number of visits by patients to the hospital emergency room with that of the four lunar phases, they found no clear link between the occurrence of psychological problems and the lunar cycle. However, they noticed that the anxiety disorders occurred 32 percent less frequently during the last lunar quarter.

"This may be coincidental or due to factors we did not take into account," Geneviève Belleville said in a statement.

"But one thing is certain: we observed no full moon or new moon effect on psychological problems," Belleville said.

The results of the study are in complete contrast to the belief of a large part of the population, including 80 percent of nurses and 64 percent of physicians, who think that the lunar cycle indeed affects the mental health of patients.

"We hope that our results will encourage health professionals to put that idea aside," says Belleville.

The findings of the study, "Impact of seasonal and lunar cycles on psychological symptoms in the ED: an empirical investigation of widely spread beliefs", are published in the journal General Hospital Psychiatry.

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