Lunar lunacy – is it purely psychological?

By Ann Griswold • Published: June 15th, 2009
Category: Health in a Heartbeat

Legend has it that once a month, when the moon is full and the werewolves begin to howl, otherwise rational people find themselves behaving very strangely.

Even the word “lunacy” can be traced back to Luna, the Roman moon goddess. Some physicians believe more trauma victims pass through emergency room doors on nights illuminated by a full moon, while labor and delivery nurses occasionally notice a spike in the number of babies born.

Patients with epilepsy have reported more frequent seizures during this time of month, and other people have noticed increases in accidents and natural disasters during the same period.

But is there any evidence that the “lunar lunacy effect,” as it is known, is real?

In a word, no. Scientists continue to look for statistical links between the full moon and measurable events, such as the number of trauma victims admitted to the hospital or the number of babies born. But the overwhelming consensus is that strange behavior is no more likely under the watchful eye of the man in the moon.

Psychiatrists at Emory University say the legend may have originated before the advent of electricity, when our ancestors slept and woke by the sun. The bright light of the full moon supposedly disrupted sleep.

So when the full moon rises this month, have no fear… any freak accidents or odd events are only coincidental… but perhaps just easier to notice by the light of the silvery moon.