Moon not to blame for madness: Swiss study

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Moon not to blame for madness: Swiss study
There is no scientific evidence for the so-called 'lunar effect'. Photo: AFP

The moon is closely linked with madness in the popular imagination and the word 'lunatic' even includes a reference to our closest celestial body.


But a new Swiss study shows that linking the moon with extreme mental states might be so much hocus pocus.

The study carried out at the Waldhaus and Beverin clinics in the south-eastern canton of Graubünden looked at the links between different moon cycles and hospital admissions and discharges. Length of stay was also examined.

Data from just under 18,000 cases from 2005 to 2015 was included in the study published in Swiss Medical Weekly.

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But researchers were unable to find any statistically significant link between moon cycles and patient admissions and discharges, or with the amount of time patients spent in hospital.

The Swiss study is the latest to reach the conclusion that there is no connection between various phases of the moon and phenomena including psychiatric admissions, violent behaviour or even suicide.

But other studies have suggested there is a correlation between general practice visits and the lunar cycle, or that there is a spike in out-patient psychiatric visits when the moon is full.

Meanwhile, another study cited by the authors of the new Swiss paper involved 91 psychiatric inpatients showed that this group did not sleep as deeply around full moon, with electroencephalogram (EEG) delta activity down 30 percent during REM sleep.

The authors of that study said this was why people may be more tired in the morning at this time of month.

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