14 December, 2009

Lunatic or lunar effect

The term lunatic has originated from the effects of moon or lunar cycles on the human behaviour. But does this anyway imply that new moon and full moon has any effect on human brain in general. Folklore's suggest people turn into warewolf, stories suggest Vampires turn out of their graves and a lot of other hints in the history of mankind that suggest that moon phases can effect human behaviour.

An adult human body is made up of approximately 70% of water. We all know the effect of moon on water bodies on earth. Yes, we are talking about high tides and low tides in the oceans, lakes and rivers. If they can have such a strong effect then why can't we humans have any effect from the moon? On the other hand, another theory suggests that we can not see any substantial effect of moon on a cup filled with water. So not necessarily human body gets effected by phases of moon. We all know the effects of magnetic fields on human body then quite possible that the magnetic effects from the gravitational pull from the moon can make us wild or mellowed. Moon is the closest heavenly body which exherts gravitational pull. Therefore it can not be ruled out that it exherts power on our minds as well.

Studies have been conducted and experiments have been made but no one has been able to prove any direct link on the effects of lunar phases on humans. 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, or any other phase of the moon, and each of the following:
-the homicide rate
-traffic accidents
-crisis calls to police or fire stations
-domestic violence
-births of babies
-major disasters
-casino payout rates
-aggression by professional hockey players
-violence in prisons
-psychiatric admissions
-agitated behavior by nursing home residents
-gunshot wounds
-emergency room admissions
-behavioral outbursts of psychologically challenged rural adults
-sleep walking

They suspect four factors which lead to such conclusions: media effects, folklore and tradition, misconceptions, and cognitive biases.

A telecom company once claimed that the days when the highest number of calls were made was usually 'Full moon' days. Full moon makes the human brain active while new moon makes it passive and negative. Another hospital (the Accident and Emergency dept. at Bradford hospital) claimed that the maximum cases of animal bites were registered on full moon days. It might be true or just a false claim but a full moon does elevate our mood with its beauty.

Parimita Chakravorty

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