Research carried out by the Neuroscience Research Australia have found that people suffering from restless legs syndrome, which causes uncomfortable sensations in the limbs, have reduced function in an area of the brain important for controlling movement. Preliminary results from a new study at Neuroscience Research Australia (NeuRA) suggest that such people have up to 80 % less function in this brain region compared to healthy people. “This is a disorder that is thought to affect one in 20 people, and can severely affect quality of life, but we still don’t know very much about it,” says Kay Double, associate professor of neuroscience. “This study is helping us understand what happens in the brain to cause these symptoms, which will help us find better treatments,” she says, according to a NeuRA statement.
Restless legs syndrome is a disorder that causes uncomfortable sensations in the limbs.
It often flares up at night and disturbs sleep. It tends to run in families.
The NeuRA study is using ultrasound and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to look for changes in the structure and function of the brain.
“This is the first time that anyone has looked for these types of changes in people with restless legs syndrome,” says Double. “If we can understand what is happening in the brain, we will be one step closer to helping the thousands with restless legs get a better night’s sleep and lead a better quality of life.”