Web-search trends shed light on the nature of lunacy: relationship between moon phases and epilepsy information-seeking behavior

Epilepsy Behav. 2013 Dec;29(3):571-3. doi: 10.1016/j.yebeh.2013.10.013. Epub 2013 Oct 31.


In old and modern times and across cultures, recurrent seizures have been attributed to the lunar phase. It is unclear whether this relationship should be classified as a myth or whether a true connection exists between moon phases and seizures. We analyzed the worldwide aggregated search queries related to epilepsy health-seeking behavior between 2005 and 2012. Epilepsy-related Internet searches increased in periods with a high moon illumination. The overall association was weak (r=0.11, 95% confidence interval: 0.07 to 0.14) but seems to be higher than most control search queries not related to epilepsy. Increased sleep deprivation during periods of full moon might explain this positive association and warrants further study into epilepsy-related health-seeking behavior on the Internet, the lunar phase, and its contribution to nocturnal luminance.

Keywords: Epilepsy; Lunar cycle; Moonstruck; Recurrent seizures; Search queries; Sleep deprivation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Epilepsy / etiology*
  • Epilepsy / psychology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Information Seeking Behavior / physiology*
  • Internet* / trends
  • Linear Models
  • Male
  • Moon*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Sleep Deprivation / complications*