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Bark at the moon Lunar cycle ‘plays no role’ in mental health

Moon appearing behind a mountain

Theories that the moon affects mental health have abounded since the days of the ancient Egyptians.

(© Keystone / Anthony Anex)

Swiss scientists appear to have debunked a myth that the cycle of the moon can influence our state of mental well-being. A study of thousands of psychiatric patients has found that the moon was in no way to blame for their condition.

Theories linking the lunar cycle to mental health have persisted for thousands of years, dating back to the ancient Egyptian, Assyrian and Babylonian eras. The moon is believed by some to influence the state of mind to such a degree that it can lead to depression and suicidal tendencies.

Researchers at Graubünden Cantonal Hospital, the University Hospital of Zurich and the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York decided to put this theory to the test. They compared the medical notes of 17,996 psychiatric patients treated in canton Graubünden between the years 2005-2015 with known lunar cycles in the region.

“The lunar cycles showed no connection with either admission or discharge rates of psychiatric inpatients, nor was there a relationship with the length of stay,” the study, published in the Swiss Medical Weeklyexternal link, reported.

“Despite the widespread belief that the moon impacts peoples’ mental health and subsequently psychiatric treatment, this study provides no evidence that our celestial neighbour influences our mental well-being.”

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