New hope for sufferers of restless legs

An often undiagnosed condition that is thought to affect up to 10% of the population is the subject of new research.

Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS) causes a creeping or tingling sensation deep within the leg and is coupled with an inescapable desire to move the affected limbs. Often leading to insomnia, there is no current cure for the condition which can be devastating for sufferers.

Lead researcher at the University of Glasgow Lisa Galloway said: “The symptoms can be very distressing for sufferers of RLS. Not only is the creeping sensation very uncomfortable but the symptoms are worse when resting meaning sufferers need to walk around to find relief. Sleep disturbance and insomnia are regular side effects of RLS and this can be devastating.

“Despite the high prevalence of the condition it is largely unrecognised and under diagnosed. We hope that by studying how RLS affects sufferers we will move closer to finding a cure.”

Current treatments include diet, exercise, iron supplements and drug therapy but these are not always effective.

Lisa Galloway added: “People who present to their GP with RLS are typically prescribed Benzodiazepines and whilst these drugs may alleviate symptoms in the short-term, they are not a helpful long-term solution.”

Researchers at the University of Glasgow Sleep Centre are looking for volunteers to take part in the study which will concentrate on sleep, mood and severity of symptoms. Individuals living in the Greater Glasgow area who believe they may be suffering from Restless Leg Syndrome and would like to volunteer for the study should contact Lisa Galloway on 07514 404 516 or email

First published: 28 March 2008

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