Leg Motor Restlessness More Common in Parkinson's

LMR, but not restless leg syndrome is significantly more likely in early unmedicated Parkinson's

THURSDAY, Nov. 10 (HealthDay News) -- Patients with early, unmedicated Parkinson's disease (PD) have a significantly increased risk for leg motor restlessness (LMR), but not restless legs syndrome (RLS), according to a study published online Nov. 9 in Neurology.

Michaela D. Gjerstad, Ph.D., from the Stavanger University Hospital in Norway, and colleagues compared the risk and correlates of leg restlessness in 200 drug-naive patients with early, unmedicated PD and 173 age- and gender-matched controls. Structured interviews, clinical examinations, and blood samples were used for assessment. All participants were Caucasian.

The investigators found that leg restlessness was reported in 40.5 percent of patients and 17.9 percent of controls, of which 15.5 percent of patients and 9.2 percent of controls met the criteria for RLS. After exclusion of potential RLS mimics and individuals with LMR, 12.5 percent of patients and 6.9 percent of controls remained. The relative risk for RLS was 1.76 (P = 0.089), and of LMR was 2.84 (P = 0.001) in PD. Patients with RLS had more sleep disturbances, and those with RLS and LMR had increased Montgomery and Åsberg Depression Rating Scale scores. There were no other major differences seen in motor or cognitive function, or in relevant blood tests for patients with PD, with or without RLS or LMR.

"LMR and not RLS occurs with a near three-fold higher risk as compared to controls in early PD," the authors write.

One of the study authors disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry.

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