“We propose that modern findings showing lack of lunar effect can be reconciled with pre-modern beliefs in the moon’s power through a mechanism of sleep deprivation. Prior to the advent of modern lighting, the moon was a significant source of nocturnal illumination that affected the sleep-wake cycle, tending to cause sleep deprivation around the time of the full moon. This partial sleep deprivation would have been sufficient to induce mania in susceptible patients and seizures in patients with seizure disorders,” the team says in its report in the Journal of Affective Disorders.
It has also been proposed that if the gravitational force of the moon is sufficient to cause the oceans to rise, it may also affect the glands and organs. Some people are affected more than others, it’s suggested, because they are borderline cases that are tipped over into ill health every month by the power of the moon.
Dr Mikulecky Rovensky proposes that gout attacks may peak at the full moon because of the changing geomagnetic fields; Dr Arnold Lierber suggests the biological tide theory, in which the moon exerts a pull on the water within the body, resulting in a cascade of effects. Internal body rhythms may also be implicated, as could the effects on the pineal gland of the light emitted by the moon or a slightly warmer temperature triggered by the full moon.
Although some conditions, especially depression, anxiety and behavioural problems, have long been associated with a full-moon effect, other conditions, such as diarrhoea, are more recent.
One of the explanations as to why the full moon should have such an effect is that its small gravitational effect has an unbalancing effect on pathogens, making the body more toxic.