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December 12, 2012

Study debunks moon-mental health link

A team of doctors and psychologists logged hundreds of hospital visits and compared them with phases of the moon.
The researchers found that while diminishing daylight can send people into a funk, moonlight is a non-factor.
Their article, published in a recent edition of General Hospital Psychiatry, summarizes an analysis of 771 patients who suffered from anxiety, panic attacks, mood disorders or suicidal thoughts.
The patients had visited hospitals in Montreal or Quebec City during various seven-day lunar phases between March 2005 and April 2008.
Except for a lower rate of hospital admission during the last quarter of the lunar month moon for individuals struggling with an anxiety disorder, no significant correlation was observed between other mental health problems and any lunar phase," say researchers, led by a team at the University of Montreal.
Researchers dismiss any connection between anxiety and the moon. If our satellite were having any such effect, the symptoms would be obvious at all times since the moon is always orbiting the earth, they note.
The study corroborated earlier research into the winter blues - that sinking feeling observed among some people who live far from the equator where days are much shorter in the winter.
Researchers noted that hospital visits by people with mental disorders were 37% higher in the spring and 37% less frequent in the fall.
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