New moon gives higher blood pressure in children

Once upon a time, Astrology was the only science. It then became pseudo-science as the age of rational science took off. In the modern world it is considered a belief system and the stuff of charlatans. Tests of astrological predictions have shown that their forecasts are no better than would be expected by chance (here and here). It is generally considered absurd that distant celestial objects can have any impact on human life or behaviour.

But in recent times it has become clear that the near celestial objects (the Sun, the moon and even Jupiter) do interact with the earth sufficiently to give correlations between their relative motion and some aspects of human life and behaviour. Our internal body clocks not only reflect the 24 hour cycle of the earth’s rotation, but even have an “annual” component seemingly related to the earth’s period of rotation around the Sun and may even have a lunar monthly component. The season of birth has been linked to personality and that begins to sound like astrology. There are now also correlations showing other possible connections to the period of rotation of the moon around the earth:

That the moon may have effects on the results of cardiac surgery is apparently not just rubbish.

It seems that the lunar nodal cycle (18.6 years) is also reflected in happenings on earth:

The lunar nodal cycle does seem to correlate with happenings on Earth. The mechanisms leading to most lunar effects on tides and sedimentation and geologic accumulations and tidal flows and sea surface temperatures and climate can be put down to some interplay of gravitational forces.

It is not such a long stretch to think that the gravitational effects of the larger planets may have some quite unlooked for effects on life on Earth.

The Sun and the moon do affect us it seems  – even if not the stars. And now it is reported from Denmark that “the lunar cycle seems to have an effect on children’s health and activity levels, but scientists are at a loss when it comes to finding an explanation for this”. The effects are small but clearly significant.

Nordic Science reports:

Just a few decades ago, it was still widely believed that the full moon held special powers and could make people act strange or even go mad. This has long since been dismissed as unscientific superstition. However, it might be time to revise that notion.

A new study, published in the scientific journal Clinical Obesity, shows that the lunar cycle is associated with a negative effect on children’s levels of physical activity, blood pressure, and blood sugar levels.

“It’s a very mysterious finding.  We actually have no idea what the reason could be for these changes in children’s behaviour during the course of the lunar cycle. It’s the first time anyone has studied children’s health in relation to the lunar cycle,” says Mads Fiil Hjorth, postdoc at the Department of Nutrition, Exercise, and Sports at the University of Copenhagen.

“Perhaps the explanation is hidden far back in evolutionary history, when moonlight could influence chances of survival and reproduction among animals and small organisms,” he says.

Hjorth is the main author of the new research article that has been written in collaboration with a team of scientists from the research centre OPUS at University of Copenhagen.

During the study, the scientists collected data from 795 children aged 8-11, taking blood samples and measuring blood pressure, sleep, and activity levels. The information was gathered over the course of nine lunar cycles – i.e. months – and then analysed.

The results revealed that on the days around a full moon the children were on average 3.2 minutes less moderately to very physically active than at new moon; equivalent to roughly 8 percent lower activity levels.

Moreover, the children’s blood pressure was 0.8 mmHg higher – equivalent to an increase of roughly 1 percent – and had an average of 0.12 mmol/L higher blood sugar levels – equivalent to an increase of just over 2 percent. Finally, the children slept 4.1 minutes more on average at full moon. ……

…….. Sleep scientist Birgitte Kornum, PhD and senior researcher at the Molecular Sleep Laboratory at Glostrup Hospital’s Research Institute, is optimistic about the results.

“This is very exciting. At this stage there is good evidence to suggest that we all have a monthly cycle inside that influences our sleep and perhaps other areas, too,” she says.

“The question is whether it’s a coincidence that the cycle follows the amount of moonlight that shines down on us, or whether the human cycle is an innate part of our biology, like the female menstrual cycle.” ….. 

Hardly any Indian Hindu wedding today takes place without first checking with astrologers that the couples’ horoscopes are not in conflict and that the day and time of the wedding is auspicious. The astrologers may well be charlatans and their various calculations are clearly just so much mumbo-jumbo, but I would not be so quick to dismiss the social and psychological importance of getting their “stamp of approval”. Astrology is still just a system of belief and astrological approval then has the importance of any religious rite.

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