RLS Runs in the Family
RLS Runs in theFamily
A study on restless leg syndrome (RLS)sheds new light on this
common genetic disorder. Theresearchers found that the relatives
of patients with restless legs andthe patients themselves began to
develop the symptoms at the sameage. For the relatives, the syndrome
lasted an average of 18 years, saidWayne A. Hening, MD,
PhD, who presented the study'sfindings at the recent Annual Meeting
of the Society of Neuroscience.
In the study, 484 individuals in thefamilies of 55 RLS patients
and 32 control patients werediagnosed by Dr. Hening, who did not
know the identity of their familiesor the patients' diagnosis. Another
expert reviewed the diagnosis,determining symptom character,
measures of severity, age of onset,and persistence of the disorder.
For the comparison, family memberswere divided into 3
groups. First- and second-degreerelatives of RLS patients and
first-degree relatives of controlpatients (n = 66, n = 37, n = 10,
respectively) were compared with theRLS patients (n = 52). The
results showed that 11% of thepatients reported painful symptoms,
compared with 25%, 19%, and 30% ofrelatives, respectively.
Also, 92% of the patients had dailysymptoms, compared with
11%, 19%, and 20% of relatives.