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Pediatric Psychiatric Emergency Department Visits During a Full Moon

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Abstract

Objective

This study aimed to verify the hypothesis that the lunar cycle influences the number of pediatric psychiatric emergency department (ED) visits.

Methods

Pediatric psychiatric ED visits between 2009 and 2011 were obtained retrospectively. Patients aged between 4 and 21 years presenting to Miami Children’s Hospital ED with a primary psychiatric complaint were included in the study. Patients with a concomitant psychiatric problem and a secondary medical condition were excluded. The number of psychiatric visits was retrieved for the full moon dates, control dates as well as the day before and after the full moon when the moon appears full to the naked eye (full moon effect). A comparison was made using the 2-sample independent t test.

Results

Between 2009 and 2011, 36 dates were considered as the true full moon dates and 108 dates as the “full moon effect.” A total of 559 patients were included in the study. The 2-sample independent t tests were performed between the actual full moon date and control dates, as well as between the “full moon effect” dates and control dates. Our results failed to show a statistical significance when comparing the number of pediatric psychiatric patients presenting to a children’s hospital ED during a full moon and a non–full moon date.

Conclusions

Our study’s results are in agreement with those involving adult patients. The full moon does not affect psychiatric visits in a children’s hospital.

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