It is a common belief in medical community that lunar phases have an impact on human health. A growing body of evidence indicates that lunar phases can predict the risk to develop acute neurological and vascular disorders. The goal of present report was to present our institution data and to perform systematic review of studies examining the association of intracranial aneurysm rupture with moon phases.
We identified all patients admitted to our department for ruptured intracranial aneurysms in a period between November, 2011 and December, 2014. Patients with a known aneurysm rupture date were included. Lunar phases were determined by dividing lunar month (29.5 days) into eight equal parts, i.e., new moon, waxing crescent, first quarter, waxing gibbous, full moon, waning gibbous, last quarter and waning crescent. A systematic literature review was undertaken to identify studies that evaluated the association of lunar phases with the incident of intracranial aneurysm rupture.
One hundred and eighty-six patients (62 men and 124 women, median age 56 years) were admitted to our department for treatment of ruptured intracranial aneurysms. The rate of intracranial aneurysm rupture was equally distributed across all phases of the lunar cycle (X 2 [7; 185] = 12.280, p = 0.092). We identified three studies that evaluated the association between incident intracranial aneurysm rupture and lunar phases with a total of 1483 patients. One study from Lebanon found that the incidence rate of intracranial aneurysm rupture was statistically significantly greater during the new moon phase (25% cases), relative to the other seven lunar phases (p < 0.001). Two subsequent studies from Austria and Germany in larger patient samples (n = 717 and n = 655, respectively) did not find an association between lunar phases and intracranial aneurysm rupture (p-values of 0.84 and 0.97, respectively). When analyzing all four studies together, we did not find an association between lunar phases and incidence of intracranial aneurysm rupture (X 2 [1668; 7] = 2.080, p = 0.955).
Moon phases are not associated with incidence of intracranial aneurysm rupture. Studies investigating the association of intracranial aneurysm rupture with lunar illumination defined using more sensitive approaches are encouraged.