SAUSALITO - You may hear people say, "Just ask an emergency room nurse. They will tell you that they are busier on nights when there is a full moon." Popular legend has it that the full moon brings out the worst in people: more violence, more suicides, more accidents, and more aggression.

The full moon has been linked to crime, suicide, mental illness, disasters, accidents, birthrates, fertility, and werewolves, among other things. Some people even buy and sell stocks according to the phases of the moon, a method probably as successful as many others.

If so, shouldn't nurses be better trained and prepared for this event, both in classrooms and on the job? The problem is that numerous studies have tried to find lunar effects. So far, the studies have failed to establish much of interest.

Ivan Kelly, James Rotton, and Roger Culver (1996) examined over 100 studies on lunar effects and concluded that the studies have failed to show a reliable and significant correlation (i.e., one not likely due to chance) between the full moon, and any other phase of the moon.

But what do we really know? Is there scientific evidence to support these beliefs? Let's look at the data.

11,613 cases of aggravated assault in a 5-year period: assaults occurred more often around the full moon.

34,318 crimes in a 1-year period: crimes occurred more frequently during the full moon.

18,495 records from patients admitted to a psychiatric hospital in an 11-year period: admissions for psychosis were highest during the new moon and lowest during the full moon.

25,568 psychiatric emergency room visits in a 13-year period: visits increased near the first quarter moon and decreased around the new moon and full moon.

7,844 emergency calls to a suicide prevention/crisis call center in a 2-year period: the highest number of total calls was during the new moon, not the full moon. When calls for suicide threats were analyzed, there were more calls during the first quarter of the moon and new moon.

76,065 calls to a crisis center in a 4-year period: increased calls by females during the new moon period; decreased calls by males during the new moon period.

928 suicides in a 4-year period: suicides did not increase during the full moon. In fact, more suicides were noted during the new moon.

841 cases of "self-poisonings" in a 4-year period: self-poisonings did occur more often on the day of the full moon.

Calls to a poison center monitored over a 1-year period: unintentional poisonings occurred more often during the full moon cycle. However, the number of calls due to intentional poison exposure (suicides/drug abuse) was significantly LOWER during the full moon and higher during the new moon.

1,621 patients over 3-year period who were bitten by a cat, rat, horse or dog: the incidence of animal bites was significantly higher around the full moon.


Articles in this issue:


  • Masthead

    Editor-in Chief:
    Kirsten Nicole

    Editorial Staff:
    Kirsten Nicole
    Stan Kenyon
    Robyn Bowman
    Kimberly McNabb
    Lisa Gordon
    Stephanie Robinson

    Kirsten Nicole
    Stan Kenyon
    Liz Di Bernardo
    Cris Lobato
    Elisa Howard
    Susan Cramer

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