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月亮的盈虧圓缺會影響你的情緒

The mood-altering power of the Moon
月亮的盈虧圓缺會影響你的情緒

The 35-year-old man sitting in David Avery’s psychiatric clinic was an engineer: “He liked to solve problems,” Avery recalls. And the problem perplexing him when he was admitted to the Seattle psychiatric ward where Avery worked in 2005 were his moods, which swung violently from one extreme to another – sometimes involving suicidal fantasies or seeing and hearing things that weren’t there. The man’s sleep pattern was similarly erratic, veering from near total insomnia to getting 12 hours per night.

埃弗里(David Avery)的心理診所來了位病人,是一位35歲的工程師。埃弗里回憶說:“他是一個喜歡研究解決問題的人。”而這位工程師2005年到美國西雅圖精神病院接受治療時,他要解決的是困擾他的情緒問題,當時埃弗里是這家醫院的心理醫生。這位工程師的情緒總是在極端之間劇烈搖擺,有時會有自殺幻想,有時會產生幻聽幻視。工程師的睡眠也極不穩定,有時通宵失眠,有時每晚要睡12個小時。

Being a problem-solver, the man had been keeping meticulous records of these patterns, trying to make sense of it all. Avery closely studied these records and scratched his head: “It was the rhythmicity of it that intrigued me,” he says. To him, it looked very much like the patient’s mood and sleep patterns were tracking rise and fall of the Earth's oceans, which are driven by the gravitational pull of the moon.

因為慣于解決問題,工程師對自身情緒起伏的規律一直在做詳細記錄,試圖搞清楚原因。埃弗里仔細研究了工程師的記錄,撓了撓頭說道:“這其中的節律性讓我很感興趣。”在埃弗里看來,似乎這位患者的情緒和睡眠規律是在隨著月球引力引發的海洋潮汐之漲落而變化。

"There seemed to be high tides occurring during the night when the sleep duration was short," says Avery. He initially dismissed his hunch as lunacy. Even if the man’s mood cycles were in synch with the Moon, he had no mechanism to explain it, nor any ideas about what to do about it. The patient was prescribed drugs and light therapy to stabilise his mood and sleep, and eventually discharged. Avery slipped the man’s notes into the proverbial file drawer and closed it.

埃弗里說,他覺得“患者睡眠很短的夜晚,好象也是海潮最高的時候。”最初,埃弗里認為自己這個想法很荒誕。即便這名患者的情緒起伏和月亮的圓缺盈虧的周期相關聯,他也沒有可用的理論來解釋此現象,而且他也不知該如何做。工程師接受了藥物和光照治療來穩定情緒和睡眠,最終出院。埃弗里則把工程師的筆記塞進眾所周知的文件夾抽屜里,然后關上了抽屜。

Twelve years later, a renowned psychiatrist called Thomas Wehr published a paper describing 17 patients with rapid-cycling bipolar disorder – a form of the illness where people switch between depression and mania more quickly than usual – who, like Avery’s patient, showed an uncanny regularity in their episodes of illness.

12年后,知名心理學家托馬斯·威爾(Thomas Wehr)發表了一篇文章,描述了17名患有快速循環雙向情感障礙癥的病人之癥狀。快速循環雙向情感障礙患者是指這類精神病患者,他們患有抑郁癥和狂躁癥,并會在兩種癥狀之間快速切換,切換速度遠快于普通患者。這些患者和埃弗里治療過的工程師一樣,患病時其情緒起伏呈現出不可思議的規律性。

“The thing that struck me about these cycles was that they seemed uncannily precise in a way that one would not necessarily expect of a biological process,” says Wehr, an emeritus professor of psychiatry at the National Institute of Mental Health in Bethesda, US. “It led me to wonder if there was some kind of external influence that was operating on these cycles - and [because of the historical belief that the Moon affects human behaviour] the obvious thing to consider was whether there was some lunar influence.”

“我開始意識到,這些循環看起來準確得令人不可思議,而人們通常不認為一個生理過程能如此準確。”美國貝塞斯達(Bethesda)國立精神衛生研究所(National Institute of Mental Health)精神病學榮譽教授威爾說,“這讓我思考,是否有外在因素影響著這些循環周期,而且由于人們曾經相信月亮會影響人類行為,因此顯而易見要考慮的就是,月亮是否會對人的情緒產生一定影響。”

For centuries, people have believed that the Moon affects human behaviour. The word lunacy derives from the Latin lunaticus, meaning “moonstruck”, and both the Greek philosopher Aristotle and the Roman naturalist Pliny the Elder believed that madness and epilepsy were caused by the Moon. Pregnant women are also rumoured to be more likely to give birth on a full Moon, but any scientific evidence for this, gleaned by looking back over birth records during different lunar phases, is inconsistent. So too, is evidence that the lunar cycle increases violence among psychiatric patients or prison inmates – although one recent study suggested that outdoor criminal activity – incidents occurring on streets, or in natural settings like beaches – may be higher when there is more moonlight.

一兩千年以來,人們都認為月亮的陰晴圓缺會影響人類行為。英文"lunacy"(意為:瘋狂)就源自拉丁語"lunaticus"一詞,意思是"受到月亮的影響"。此外,古希臘哲學家亞里士多德(Aristotle)和古羅馬博物學者老普林尼(Pliny the Elder)也認為,人發瘋和發癲癇是受月相變化之影響。民間傳說稱,懷孕的女性在滿月的時候分娩可能性較大,但如果我們回過頭去查看與月相變化周期對應的出生記錄,就會發現科學證據并不能證明這一觀點。同樣,月相變化會增加精神病患者或監獄囚犯的暴力行為的觀點也并沒有什么證據支撐。但近期一項研究顯示,戶外犯罪活動,即發生在街頭或類似海灘等自然環境中的事件,若月光較強的時候可能頻率要高一些。

There is, however, some evidence that sleep varies across the lunar cycle. For instance, a 2013 study conducted under the highly-controlled conditions of a sleep laboratory found that people took five minutes longer to fall asleep on average, and slept for 20 minutes less overall, around a full Moon, compared to during the rest of the month – even though they weren’t exposed to any moonlight. Measurement of their brain activity, meanwhile, suggested that the amount of deep sleep they experienced dropped by 30%. Even so, a follow-up study failed to replicate the findings.

然而,有一些證據表明,人類在月相盈虧周期不同階段的睡眠情況是有所不同。例如,2013年一項在睡眠實驗室嚴格控制下所做的研究顯示,在滿月日子,人們的平均進入睡眠的時間比平時要多5分鐘,總體睡眠時長則比平時短20分鐘,即或他們根本沒有見到任何月光。與此同時,他們的大腦活動顯示,深度睡眠時間也減少了30%。不過,一項后續的研究未能重復這些發現。

A key problem, says Vladyslav Vyazovskiy, a University of Oxford sleep researcher, is that neither study monitored individual patients’ sleep over an entire lunar month, or many months. “The only way to approach this is systematically, would be to record the very same individual over time and continuously over different phases,” he adds.

牛津大學睡眠研究員維亞佐夫斯基(Vladyslav Vyazovskiy)指出,一個重要的問題在于,前后兩個研究都沒有監測患者一整個陰歷月、或好幾個陰歷月的整體睡眠狀況。他補充說:"唯一的系統性方法就是連續記錄同一個人在一段時期內不同階段的睡眠情況。"

This is precisely what Wehr did in his study of bipolar patients – in some cases, tracking the dates of their mood episodes for years. “Because people differ in how they respond to these lunar cycles, even if you were to average together all the data I’ve collected, I’m not sure you would find anything,” says Wehr. “The only way to find anything is to look at each person individually over time, and then the patterns pop out.”

威爾在自己的雙向情感障礙患者研究中正是這么做的。對一些病例,他記錄了患者好幾年的情緒發作日期。威爾說道,“不同的人對月相盈虧周期的反應不一樣,因此即便你根據我收集的數據計算一個平均值,我也很難保證你能發現什么。唯一能發現什么的方法就是在一段時期內單獨觀察每個個體,然后就能找出其中的模式。”

When he did this, Wehr found that his patients fell into one of two categories: some people’s mood swings appeared to follow a 14.8-day cycle, others a 13.7-day cycle – although some of them occasionally switched between these cycles.

威爾這么做之后,發現自己的病患可以分為兩類:有的人的情緒起伏周期似乎是14.8天,其他人則是13.7天,其中還有一些人時不時在兩個周期之間切換。<-->紐約時報中英文網 http://www.zvkdrb.live<-->

The Moon affects Earth in several ways. The first and most obvious is through the provision of moonlight, with a full Moon coming around every 29.5 days, and a new Moon following 14.8 days after that. Then there’s the Moon’s gravitational pull, which creates the ocean tides that rise and fall every 12.4 hours. The height of those tides also follows roughly two-week cycles – the 14.8 day “spring-neap cycle”, which is driven by the combined pull of the Moon and Sun, and the 13.7-day “declination cycle”, which is driven by the Moon’s position relative to Earth’s equator.

月亮影響地球的方法有好幾種,第一種也是最顯著的方法就是月光之影響。滿月大約每29.5天出現一次,滿月后14.8天就是新月。另外一個因素就是月球的引力。月球引力會導致地球上的海洋每12.4小時出現一次的潮汐漲落。潮汐高度也大約兩星期循環一次。由太陽和月亮的引力共同作用導致為期14.8天的“大小潮周期“(spring-neap cycle)以及由月亮與地球赤道相對位置導致為期13.7天的“赤緯周期”(declination cycle)。

It is these roughly two-week cycles in the height of the tides that Wehr’s patients appear to synchronise with. It’s not that they necessarily switch into depression or mania every 13.7 or 14.8 days, “it's just that if that switch from depression to mania occurs, it doesn’t happen at just any old time, it tends to occur during a certain phase of the lunar tidal cycle,” says Avery.

威爾的患者的情緒起伏規律似乎正是與這些為期大約2周的潮汐高度周期相一致。這并不是說這些患者一定會每13.7天或14.8天就陷入抑郁或狂躁。埃弗里說,”抑郁癥與狂躁癥的相互轉換并不是任何時期都會發生,而是往往發生在月亮潮汐周期的某一個階段。“

After reading about Wehr’s research, Avery picked up the telephone to him, and they subsequently reanalysed the engineer’s data, finding that he too showed a 14.8 day-pattern in his mood cycles.

讀完威爾的研究后,埃弗里給他打了個電話,隨后兩人重新分析了那位工程師的記錄,發現工程師的情緒周期也顯示出14.8天的節律。

Further evidence for the Moon’s influence on these patients’ moods comes from the discovery that every 206 days, these otherwise regular rhythms appear to be interrupted by another lunar cycle – the one responsible for creating “supermoons”, when the Moon’s elliptical (or oval-shaped) orbit brings it particularly close to the Earth.

另一項發現中,有進一步證據表明月亮對這些患者情緒的影響。每206天,這些原本規律的周期似乎受到另一個月相周期的影響——”超級月亮“的周期。每當月亮位于其橢圓形軌道的近地位置,就會產生”超級月亮“。

Anne Wirz-Justice, a chronobiologist at the Psychiatric Hospital of the University of Basel, Switzerland, describes Wehr's data on this relationship between lunar and manic-depressive cycles as “believable” but “complex”.

瑞士巴塞爾大學(University of Basel)精神科醫院時間生物學家威爾茲-加斯蒂斯(Anne Wirz-Justice)認為,威爾關于月亮以及狂躁-抑郁周期之間關系的數據是”可信的“但也”很復雜“。

“One has no idea what the mechanisms are,” she adds.

她補充說:“人們根本不了解月亮對人情緒起作用的機制是什么。”

In theory, the light of a full Moon might disrupt people’s sleep, which could influence their mood. This is particularly true of bipolar patients, whose mood episodes are often precipitated by disrupted sleep or circadian rhythms – 24-hour oscillations in our biology and behaviour, which can become disrupted as a result of shift work or taking a long-haul flight. There’s even evidence that sleep deprivation can be used to lift bipolar patients out of depression.

理論上,滿月的月光可能會擾亂人的睡眠,進而可能影響到人的情緒。這對雙向情感障礙患者而言尤其如此,他們的情緒發作通常因睡眠或晝夜的生理時鐘被打斷而引起,倒班或者長途飛行都可能打亂我們的生理活動和行為的24小時周期。甚至還有證據顯示,剝奪雙向情感障礙患者的睡眠可以讓他們擺脫抑郁癥。

Supporting the idea that the Moon might somehow be affecting patients’ sleep, Wehr has found that as the days progress, their wake time moves steadily later, while their sleep time remains the same, meaning that the amount of time they sleep for grows longer and longer, until it abruptly shortens. This so-called “phase jump” is often related to the onset of mania.

威爾找到了證據,證明月光可能會影響患者睡眠。他發現,隨著日子一天天過去,患者起床的時間變得越來越晚,但入睡時間保持不變。這意味著他們睡覺的時間越變越長,直到某次突然睡眠變短。這種所謂的”階段跳躍“通常與狂躁癥的發作相關。

Even so, Wehr considers moonlight an unlikely candidate.

即便如此,威爾還是認為,月光不太可能是事情的成因。

“In the modern world, there’s so much light pollution and we spend so much time indoors exposed to artificial light, that the signal of the changing levels of moonlight has been obscured,” he explains. Rather, he suspects that some other aspect of lunar influence is perturbing his patients’ sleep, with knock-on consequences for their mood – with the most likely candidate being the Moon’s gravitational pull.

他這樣解釋說,“現代社會光污染太多,現代人長呆在室內,暴露在人造光下的時間太長,以至于月光強度變化的信號都被我們忽視了。”相反,他懷疑是月球其它方面的影響擾亂了患者睡眠,從而產生連鎖效應,波及到他們的情緒。其中最有可能的因素就是月球引力。

One idea is that this triggers subtle fluctuations in the Earth’s magnetic field, to which some people might be sensitive.

一個理論認為,月球引力引發了地球磁場的輕微波動,而某些人可能能感應到這種波動。

“The oceans are electrically conducting because they’re made of salty water, and as they flow around with the tides that has a magnetic field associated with it,” says Robert Wickes, a space weather expert at University College London. Yet, the effect is tiny and whether the Moon’s effect on the Earth’s magnetic field is strong enough to induce biological changes is unclear.

“海洋是由鹽水構成的,因此可以導電。海水隨著潮汐變化流動時,就會產生相關的磁場。”倫敦大學學院空間氣候專家韋克斯(Robert Wickes)這樣解釋。然而,這個現象的影響很小,而且人們尚不清楚月亮對地球磁場的影響是否足以引發人體生理變化。

Certainly, some studies have linked solar activity to increases in heart attacks and strokes, epileptic fits, schizophrenia and suicides. When solar flares or coronal mass ejections hit the Earth’s magnetic field, this induces invisible electric currents strong enough to knock out power grids, and which some have suggested may also affect electrically sensitive cells in the heart and brain. 紐約時報中英文網 http://www.zvkdrb.live

當然,一些研究認為,太陽活動與心臟病、中風、癲癇發作、精神分裂癥以及自殺等病例的增加存在關聯。當太陽耀斑或日冕物質沖擊地球磁場時,就會引起肉眼無法看到、但足以破壞電網的電流。有人認為,這種電流也可能影響心臟和大腦內對電流敏感的細胞。

“The problem is not that it’s not possible that these things may happen, it’s that the research into it is very limited so it’s very hard to say anything definitive,” Wickes explains.

韋克斯解釋說:“問題并不在于這些事情不可能發生,而是相關研究十分有限,因此很難得出任何確切的結論。”

For one thing, unlike certain birds, fish and insects, humans aren’t considered to possess a magnetic sense. However, a study published earlier this year challenged that assumption. It found that when people were exposed to magnetic field changes – equivalent to those we experience as we move around our local environment – they experienced strong decreases in brain alpha wave activity. Alpha waves are produced when we are awake but not performing any specific task. The significance of these changes remains unclear – it may be an irrelevant by-product of evolution, or magnetic changes in our environment may be subtly tweaking our brain chemistry in ways we’re unaware of.

科學界曾經認為人類和某些鳥類、魚類、昆蟲不同,是不能感知磁場的。然而,今年初發表的一項研究挑戰了這一假設。研究發現,當人接觸到磁場變化,即我們在日常生活中感受到的磁場變化,人大腦中阿爾法腦電波活動就會強烈下降。人們在意識清醒但沒有執行特定任務時,就會產生阿爾法腦電波。為何會有這樣的變化,原因至今不明。這可能是人類進化過程中產生的一個無關輕重的副產品,但也可能是我們身處環境的磁場變化會通過我們意識不到的方式巧妙地改變了我們大腦神經的化學成分。

The magnetic theory is appealing to Wehr because over the past decade, various studies have hinted that, in certain organisms such as fruit flies, a protein called cryptochrome may also function as a magnetic sensor. Cryptochrome is a key component of the molecular clocks that drive 24-hour “circadian” rhythms in our cells and tissues, including the brain.

威爾被這一磁場理論深深吸引,因為在過去的十年中,各類研究都在暗示,某些特定生物,如果蠅等,體內有一種叫做隱花色素(cryptochrome)的蛋白質能感應磁場。隱花色素是我們人體分子時鐘,或曰生物時鐘的重要組成成分,正是這個生物時鐘驅動我們人體的細胞、組織和大腦能有24小時的“晝夜節律”作息運作。

When cryptochrome binds to a light-absorbing molecule called flavin, not only does this tell the circadian clock that it’s daytime, it triggers a reaction that causes the molecular complex to become magnetically sensitive. Bambos Kyriacou, a behavioural geneticist at the University of Leicester, UK, and his colleagues have shown that exposure to low-frequency electromagnetic fields can reset the timing of fruit flies’ circadian clocks, leading to alterations in the timing of their sleep.

隱花色素與吸收光線的生物分子黃素(flavin)結合時,不僅會告知生物時鐘白日來臨,還會引發某種反應,使得這一分子復合物能感應到磁場的變化。英國萊斯特大學的行為遺傳學家奇里亞古(Bambos Kyriacou)和他的同事已經證明,讓果蠅暴露在低頻率磁場下可以重置果蠅的生物時鐘,從而改變果蠅的睡眠時間。

If this were true of humans, it might provide an explanation for the abrupt mood changes observed in Wehr and Avery’s bipolar patients. “These patients have fairly dramatic shifts in the timing of their circadian rhythms as they go through their mood cycles, and they also have fairly dramatic changes in the timing and duration of their sleep,” says Wehr.

如果這也適用于人類,那就可以解釋威爾和埃弗里所研究的雙向情感障礙病患的情緒突變原因。威爾表示:“這些患者在經歷情緒的起伏周期時,他們的生物鐘節律變化也相當顯著。此外,他們的入睡時間和睡眠時長也發生了很大變化。”

However, although cryptochrome is also an essential component of the human circadian clock, it works slightly differently to the version operating in fruit flies. “It looks like human and other mammalian cryptochrome no longer binds flavin, and without flavin, we don’t know how the magnetically sensitive chemistry would be triggered,” says Alex Jones, a physicist at the National Physical Laboratory in Teddington, UK. “From that regard, I think it is unlikely that [human] cryptochromes are sensitive to magnetic fields, unless there are some other molecules inside humans that can detect magnetic fields.”

然而,盡管隱花色素也是人類生物鐘的重要成分,其在人體內的工作機制和在果蠅體內的工作機制卻略有不同。英國特定頓國家物理實驗室物理學家瓊斯(Alex Jones)指出:“人類和其它哺乳動物的隱花色素似乎不再和黃素結合。但要是沒有了黃素,我們就不知道是什么東西會引發化學物質對磁場的感應。從這個角度看,我認為(人體內)的隱花色素不太可能對磁場有感應,除非人體內有其它可以感應磁場的化學物質。”

Another possibility is that Wehr and Avery’s patients are responding to the Moon’s gravitational pull in the same way the oceans do: through tidal forces. A common argument against this is that, although humans are up to 75% water, they possess far smaller quantities of it than an ocean. “Humans are made out of water, but the pull is so weak that it would be difficult to see how that would work from a physical point of view,” says Kyriacou.

另一種可能的解釋是,如同海洋因月球的引力而產生潮汐力一樣,威爾和埃弗里的患者的身體也可能因月球引力發生同樣的潮汐反應。常見的反對觀點認為,雖然人體75%的成分是水,但人體的水分量和海洋相比實在太微小。奇里亞古表示:“人體由水組成,但月球引力在人體上引起的潮汐反應相當微小,因此很難從生理的角度了解其如何起作用。”

Even so, he nods to studies in Arabadopsis thaliana (a weed considered a model organism by biologists who study flowering plants) suggesting that their root growth follows a 24.8-hour cycle – the amount of time it takes the Moon to complete one full orbit of Earth. “These are incredibly small changes, which can only be detected with extremely sensitive devices, but now there are over 200 publications to support this,” says Joachim Fisahn, a biophysicist at the Max Planck Institute of Plant Physiology in Potsdam, Germany.

即便如此,他還是認同針對一種野草阿拉伯芥(Arabadopsis thaliana,生物學家認為這種雜草是研究開花植物的最理想標本)的一項研究的觀點。研究認為,阿拉伯芥的根系生長遵循24.8小時的周期,而這正是月球繞地球公轉一圈所需的時間。“這些變化都非常細微,只有極其敏銳的設備才能檢測出來,但現在有200多篇研究證明這一觀點。”德國波茨坦(Potsdam)馬克思普朗克植物生理研究所(Max Planck Institute of Plant Physiology)的生物生理學家佛桑(Joachim Fisahn)這樣說。

Fisahn has modelled the dynamics of clusters of water molecules within single plant cells and found that daily variations in gravity caused by the Moon’s orbit would be enough to cause a net loss or gain of water molecules from the cell.

佛桑模擬了單個植物細胞內水分子簇的動態變化,發現由月球軌道引起的每日重力變化足以導致細胞中水分子的減少或增加。

“The volume of water molecules – even if it is in the nano-range – will respond to any tiny gravitational change,” he says. “As a consequence, there will be movement of water molecules through water channels, meaning water will move from inside the cell towards the outside or vice versa, depending on the direction of the gravitational force – and this could have an effect on the whole organism.”

他說,“即使在納米范圍內,水分子的含量也會根據任何細微的引力變化而改變。因此,就會有水分子通過水分子通道(water channel)的移動。這意味著水會從細胞內移動至細胞外,或反向地從外向內。至于移動的方向是由里至外,還是由外至里,則具體取決于引力的方向。這種細微的潮汐反應可能對整個有機體都會產生影響。”

He is now planning to test this in the context of root growth, by studying plants with mutated water channels to see if they have altered growth cycles.

佛桑正在計劃做根系生長試驗,研究有突變的水分子通道的植物,以觀察這些植物是否改變了生長周期。

If plant cells really are sensitive to such tidal forces, then Fisahn sees no reason why human cells couldn’t be as well. Given that life is thought to have begun in the oceans, some land organisms may still retain the machinery to predict the tides, even if it no longer serves a practical use.

佛桑認為,如果植物細胞確實對此類潮汐力有感應,那么就沒有理由認為人體細胞會不一樣。人們認為生命起源于海洋,因此一些陸上有機體可能仍然保留著感知潮汐力的機制,盡管這一機制不再有任何實際用途。

Even if the mechanism eludes us for now, none of the scientists contacted for this article dispute Wehr’s basic finding: that his bipolar patients mood swings are rhythmic, and that these rhythms appear to correlate with certain gravitational cycles of the Moon.

即便目前我們對該機制還缺乏認識,但在撰寫本文過程中,筆者接觸的科學家均未對威爾的基本發現提出異議。威爾發現,雙向情感障礙患者的情緒變化是有規律可循的,這些規律似乎與月球的某些引力周期相關連。

Wehr for one is keeping an open mind about the mechanism and hopes others will see them as an invitation to investigate further. “I haven’t answered how this effect is mediated, but I think the things that I found raise those questions,” he says.

有關此機制是否存在或如何運作,威爾持對此持開放的態度。他希望其他科學家能將他的發現看作是邀請他們展開進一步的研究。他說:“對于如何發生,我沒有得出答案,不過我認為,我發現的事實已把這些問題提了出來。”

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