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Study Reveals Lunar Phases Do Not Affect Psychological Problems

Update Date: Nov 20, 2012 02:46 AM EST
Full Moon
Early tidal effects shaped the moon, according to a new study. (Photo : Flickr)

It is popularly believed that the full moon affects human behavior. It is particularly believed that mental patients become more abnormal during full moon days or on a new moon day.

However, slashing the myth, a new study suggests that there is no connection between lunar phases and the incidence of psychological problems.

The study has been conducted by a team of researchers directed by professor Geneviève Belleville of Université Laval's School of Psychology, who observed and analyzed the relation between lunar phases and the number of patients who showed up in the mental health emergency rooms.  

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The experiment was conducted at Montreal's Sacré-Coeur Hospital and Hôtel-Dieu de Lévis between March 2005 and April 2008 and the researchers focused specifically on 771 individuals who came to the emergency room with unexplained chest pains.

Psychological evaluations of the patients determined that some of these patients suffered from panic attacks, anxiety and mood disorders, or suicidal thoughts. With the help of lunar calendars, researchers checked moon phases on the days these patients visited the hospital.

The findings of the study revealed that there was no link between the incidence of psychological problems and the four lunar phases, according to Medical Xpress. However, there was one exception noted by the researchers, that anxiety disorders were 32 percent less frequent during the last lunar quarter.

"This may be coincidental or due to factors we did not take into account," suggested Geneviève Belleville. "But one thing is certain: we observed no full-moon or new-moon effect on psychological problems."  

"We hope our results will encourage health professionals to put that idea to rest," said Dr. Belleville. "Otherwise, this misperception could, on the one hand, color 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."

Further details on the study can be found on the website of the scientific journal General Hospital Psychiatry.

 

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