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Heart Surgery Timing

October 5, 2009

A hospital puts full-moon folklore to the test.


Full moon surgery…I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

It’s time for another episode of our new series, Reality Check, where we investigate paranormal claims, weird phenomena and science folklore. The full moon gets blamed for a lot of things, such as an increase in accidents and strange behavior, but most of these claims have no basis in reality. Dr. Daniel Sessler and his colleagues at the Cleveland Clinic recently put another nail into the coffin of lunar mania by testing whether a full moon has any effect on the outcome of heart surgeries.

DANIEL SESSLER (Cleveland Clinic):
So, really just for fun, in the context of more serious work, there was no difference whatsoever.

The researchers also found that the time of day, week, or year had no impact on heart surgery patient survival at the Cleveland Clinic. And if your favorite urban legend needs a reality check, give us a call at 1-800-why-isit. I’m Bob Hirshon, for AAAS, the science society.