The theories about the full moon and insanity that gave "lunacy" its name were discredited long ago, and a UCLA professor says the moon is also off the hook for affecting "automobile accidents, hospital admissions, surgery outcomes, cancer survival rates, menstruation, births, birth complications, depression, violent behavior, and even criminal activity." Some nurses swear that emergency rooms or birth wards get busier when the moon is full, but the vast majority of studies have failed to back that up, and a fresh look at a 2004 Spanish study linking the full moon to hospital admissions reveals that the "moon is innocent," UCLA professor of planetary astronomy Jean-Luc Margot says in a press release for the study of how "otherwise reasonable people develop strong beliefs that, to put it politely, are not aligned with reality."
Margot says the reason full-moon myths lived on long after most people stopped believing in werewolves is because of "confirmation bias," which can cause people like hospital workers to link busy days to the lunar cycle if they already believe the moon has an effect, Science Daily reports. "The societal costs of flawed beliefs are enormous," he writes, pointing to examples like people shunning vaccines and refusing to accept that climate change is caused by human activity. For clearer thinking, he suggests, people need to rely on evidence and reason and be willing to change beliefs. "Being able to distinguish fact from hogwash is liberating and empowering," he writes. (While it may not have any effect on humans, a Belgian brewer says the full moon gives his beer a boost.)