The Moon's Influence on Humans
Since the beginning of recorded history, various cultures have told stories about how the Moon affects human behaviour. From werewolves to fertility cycles, the Moon is said to have a wide range of influences.
One of the most pervasive beliefs has been the idea that people can lose their sanity at certain times of the lunar cycle, especially full moon. In fact the word "lunatic" derives from "luna" (the moon).
In modern times science has tended to dismiss most of these traditional beliefs, but the issue is far from dead. Indeed the tide could be turning. Scientists are well aware that the Moon does influence life on earth, and some new studies have suggested the Moon's influence might be more widespread than "common sense" suggests.
- Dr Michael Zimecki
On 21 January 2007 the Independent published an article by Roger Dobson which explained the research of Dr Michael Zimecki of the Polish Academy of Sciences. The article explained how Dr Zimecki conducted new research and collated results from 50 previously published studies. He found that:
- A study of 140,000 births in New York City found that birth rates varied depending on the lunar cycle.
- An analysis of crime statistics in Florida found that murders and assaults peaked around full moon.
- An analysis of traffic accident statistics found that car accident rates dropped during full moon.
- A study of 800 urology patients found higher urine retention during new moon.
- A study at Georgia State University found that subjects increased their meal size by 8% and decreased their alcohol intake by 26% during full moon.
- An analysis of medical records over 22 years from the Slovak Institute of Preventative Medicine in Bratislava, found that gout and asthma attacks rose during new and full moons.
- GP consultations rose by 3.6% during full moon (data and sources not cited).
Exactly how the Moon might exert an influence on people is subject to debate. Dr Zimecki has suggested the cause could be related to the Moon's gravity affecting the human immune systems, hormones and steroids.
It should be noted that reliable information about the moon's influence is not particularly easy to find. When searching the Internet you are more likely to find misinformation and unconfirmed research than genuine peer-reviewed papers. Indeed, the study mentioned above has yet to be widely reviewed. The reader should take care and not accept such studies at face value.
It is a fact that the Moon does have at least some influence on Earthly life, but the exact nature and extent of that influence is poorly understood. Future studies will probably develop our understanding further.
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