There are days – and moons. Self-poisoning is not lunacy

Author: Buckley N.A., Whyte I.M., Dawson, A.H.
Abstract: The objective of this study was to determine whether there are significant circadian, weekly or lunar variations in self-poisoning presentations and whether patients’ names or dates of birth have an influence on the likelihood of self-poisoning by analysing biorythms, numerology and star sign. Setting: Hunter Valley, Australia. Subjects Consecutive adult patients admitted with self-poisoning between January 1987 and June 1993. Results: there were 2215 patients admitted. There was a marked circadian variation. Over 6% of all admissions occurred in each of the hours between 6 p.m. and 1 a.m. compared with less than 2% per hour between 5 a.m. and 9 a.m. This pattern was not different for patients with a diagnosis of depression. Numerology, biorhythms and star signs had no significant correlations with self-poisoning, nor was there a significant weekly or yearly variation in presentations. There was a small but statistically significant sex difference in presentations analysed by lunar phases. At the new moon 60% of self-poisonings were in women, compared with 45% when the mooon was full. The odds ratios (OR) for women to be admitted at full moon and at new moon were 1.27 (95% confidence interval [CI], 0.92-1.66: p value not significant) and 0.73 (95% CI, 0.57-0.92: p = 0.009) respecively. The mean illumination of the moon at the time of overdoes was 50.63% =/- 0.91% for men, compared with 47.45% =/- 0.85% for women (p = 0.014). Conclusion: the circadian cycle (but not weekly, yearly or mystical cycles) should be taken into account when determining staffing levels for poison information and casualty service. The full moon is protetctive for women.
Keywords: self-poisoning, poison, biorhythms, numerology, star signs, depression, lunar phase, moon, circadian
Publication: Medical Journal of Australia
Issue: 1993
Dated: Dec 6-20: 159(11-12):
Pages: 786-9

Posted in Free Research Abstract