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dark side of the moon


									     NTDB®	data	points

     Dark side of the moon
     by Richard J. Fantus, MD, FACS

        The	moon,	Earth’s	only	satel-
     lite,	circles	in	an	elliptical	orbit	                            Hospital discharge status
     at	 2,300	 miles	 per	 hour	 and	
     takes	 approximately	 27	 days	
     to	 complete.	 Spacecraft	 have	
     been	 studying	 the	 moon	 for	
     almost	 50	 years.	 Direct	 lunar	
     exploration	began	in	1959	when	
     probes	from	a	Soviet	Luna	space-
     craft	 impacted	 the	 surface.	 On	
     July	20,	1969,	Neil	Armstrong,	
     with	Apollo	11,	fulfilled	human-
     ity’s	dream	of	putting	a	man	on	
     the	 surface	 of	 the	 moon.	 Over	
     time,	850	pounds	of	moon	rock	
     have	 been	 brought	 back	 for	
     analysis.	However,	much	of	the	
     composition	and	structure	of	the	         their	 prey,	 which	 has	 come	 out	    (one	full	moon	date	per	month,	
     moon	 is	 still	 a	 mystery.	 Apart	      to	gather	food.	                        12	months	per	year,	and	a	five-
     from	the	science,	however,	there	           The	 moon	 has	 fascinated	 in-       year	 window	 for	 this	 dataset),	
     is	a	large	body	of	conjecture	and	        habitants	of	earth	for	centuries.	      there	were	60	dates	included	in	
     some	facts	relating	to	the	various	       Shrines	 and	 monuments	 have	          the	full	moon	injury	group.	Out	
     effects	of	full	moons.	                   been	 built	 honoring	 her	 while	      of	 1,926,25	 incidents,	 there	
        The	autumn	full	moons	in	the	          calendars	follow	her	orbits.	Full	      were	 5,82	 records	 with	 dis-
     northern	hemisphere	are	special.	         moons	have	long	been	implicated	        charge	 status	 that	 occurred	 on	
     Because	 of	 the	 elliptical	 orbit,	     in	 our	 behavior.	 The	 word	 “lu-     a	full	moon	date	and	1,698,273	
     the	moon	rises	earlier	from	one	          natic”	is	derived	from	the	Latin	       records	 with	 discharge	 status	
     night	 to	 the	 next.	 This	 results	     “luna,”	or	moon.	Early	psycholo-        that	 occurred	 on	 a	 date	 when	
     in	 no	 long	 period	 of	 darkness	       gists	encouraged	extra	staffing	of	     there	 was	 no	 full	 moon.	 This	
     between	 sunset	 and	 moonrise.	          the	asylums	in	the	occasions	of	        figure	represents	approximately	
     The	September	full	moon	is	the	           full	moons.	It	is	only	fitting	that	    3.1	percent,	which	is	very	close	
     harvest	moon,	allowing	for	more	          in	this	month,	the	month	of	the	        to	 the	 percentage	 of	 full	 moon	
     light	 and	 a	 longer	 time	 to	 har-     “blood	moon,”	this	column	looks	        days	to	non-full	moon	days	(60	
     vest	crops	while	the	1th	of	this	        at	 the	 effect	 of	 full	 moons	 on	   full	moons	divided	by	1,82	days	
     month	marks	the	hunter’s	moon,	           trauma	activity.                        equals	3.2	percent).
     also	known	as	the	“blood	moon”	             In	 order	 to	 examine	 the	 oc-         Of	 the	 5,82	 discharges	 on	
     or	 “sanguine	 moon.”	 There	             currence	 of	 injuries	 sustained	      a	 day	 with	 a	 full	 moon,	 0,72	
     is	 a	 longer	 period	 of	 light,	 the	   during	a	full	moon,	the	National	       were	discharged	to	home,	7,320	
     leaves	 are	 falling,	 the	 deer	 are	    Trauma	Data	Bank®	Dataset	7.1,	         to	acute	care/rehabilitation,	and	
     fattened,	and	it	is	time	to	hunt.	        records	were	searched	by	date	of	       3,938	 to	 nursing	 homes;	 2,500	
     The	fields	have	been	harvested	           injury.	Using	a	list	of	full	moon	      died.	(These	data	are	displayed	
     and	 the	 hunters	 can	 easily	 see	      dates	 for	 2002	 through	 2006	        in	the	graph	on	this	page.)	The	

patients	were	65.6	percent	male,	      spell	of	a	full	moon.	The	records	      contact	 Melanie	 L.	 Neal,	 Man-
and	on	average	38.5	years	of	age;	     in	 the	 NTDB	 do	 not	 appear	 to	     ager,	NTDB, at
they	 had	 an	 average	 length	 of	    validate	 an	 increase	 in	 trauma	
stay	of	5.36	days	and	an	average	      occurrence	or	lethality	based	on	       Acknowledgment
injury	severity	score	of	10.2.	Of	     this	 cursory	 review.	 The	 next	
those	patients	also	tested	for	al-     time	 you	 are	 out	 and	 taking	 a	       Statistical	 support	 for	 this	 ar-
cohol,	25	percent	tested	positive	     moonlit	 walk	 on	 a	 full	 moon	       ticle	has	been	provided	by	Sandra	
                                                                               M.	Goble,	MS.
and	 of	 those	 tested	 for	 drugs,	   night,	 you	 will	 not	 have	 to	 be	
more	 than	 half	 tested	 positive.	   concerned	 about	 the	 potential	       Dr. Fantus is director, trauma ser-
These	 data	 were	 similar	 to	 the	   dark	side	of	the	moon.                  vices, and chief, section of surgical
group	 of	 patients	 on	 days	 with	      The	 full	 NTDB	 Annual Re-          critical care, Advocate Illinois Ma-
no	full	moon.                          port Version 7.0	 is	 available	 on	    sonic Medical Center, and clinical
  Special	allowances	have	been	        the	ACS	Web	site	as	a	PDF	and	          professor of surgery, University of
made	 for	 full	 moon	 events.	        a	 PowerPoint	 presentation	 at	        Illinois College of Medicine, Chi-
Charles	 Hyde	 was	 acquitted	 of                    cago, IL. He is Chair of the ad hoc
murder	charges	in	the	1880s	on	          If	you	are	interested	in	submit-      Trauma Registry Advisory Commit-
the	grounds	of	being	under	the	        ting	 your	 trauma	 center’s	 data,	    tee of the Committee on Trauma.


                                                            OCTOBER	2008	BULLETIN	OF	THE	AMERICAN	COLLEGE	OF	SURGEONS

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