Effect of Lunar Phase on Frequency of Psychogenic Nonepileptic Events in the EMU

Epilepsy Behav. 2016 Jun;59:62-3. doi: 10.1016/j.yebeh.2016.03.017. Epub 2016 Apr 15.


Introduction: Studies of the effect of a full moon on seizures have yielded mixed results, despite a continuing prevailing belief regarding the association of lunar phase with human behavior. The potential effect of a full moon on psychogenic nonepileptic events has not been as well studied, despite what anecdotal accounts from most epilepsy monitoring unit (EMU) staff would suggest.

Methods: We obtained the dates and times of all events from patients diagnosed with psychogenic nonepileptic events discharged from our EMU over a two-year period. The events were then plotted on a 29.5-day lunar calendar. Events were also broken down into lunar quarters for statistical analysis.

Results: We found a statistically significant increase in psychogenic nonepileptic events during the new moon quarter in our EMU during our studied timeframe.

Conclusion: Our results are not concordant with the results of a similarly designed past study, raising the possibility that psychogenic nonepileptic events are not influenced by lunar phase.

Keywords: Lunar phase; Psychogenic nonepileptic events.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Female
  • Hospital Units*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Monitoring, Physiologic*
  • Moon*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Seizures / psychology*
  • Somatoform Disorders / psychology*