Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Full Moon, Strange Behaviours, and Medical Emergencies


I was going to write an article on this, but I found an excellent review with many interesting highlights in the Canadian Medical Association Journal:

Past beliefs regarding the association of full moon and human behaviour may have been due to the extra light at night, “Even partial sleep deprivation over the course of a single night can induce mania…”

“At the Bethlehem (or Bedlam) Hospital in London, inmates were chained and flogged at certain phases of the moon "to prevent violence."”

“Why, then, is the belief in a "lunar effect" still so strong? Explanations include: a lack of understanding of physics, psychological biases (e.g., selective recall or selective perception), sensationalism, and the entertainment value of a belief in lunar influence.”

According to wiki, research has indicated there is an effect of light on menstruation (which often has an effect on mood and behaviour, but no direct correlation with the full moon.

Here is another article demonstrating no significant effect of lunar cycle on hospital activity.

Some popular culture trivia - according to Joss Whedon, the affective period of a full moon on werewolf activity is actually 3 nights (astronomically there are 8 phases of the moon each lasting 3.69 days).