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Clin Neurophysiol. 2015 Apr;126(4):736-42. doi: 10.1016/j.clinph.2014.07.010. Epub 2014 Jul 18.

Upper limb function is normal in patients with restless legs syndrome (Willis-Ekbom Disease).

Author information

1
School of Pharmacy and Medical Sciences and Sansom Institute, University of South Australia, Adelaide, SA 5000, Australia. Electronic address: gabrielle.todd@unisa.edu.au.
2
School of Pharmacy and Medical Sciences and Sansom Institute, University of South Australia, Adelaide, SA 5000, Australia.
3
Concord Repatriation General Hospital, Concord, NSW 2139, Australia.
4
Department of Neurology, Flinders Medical Centre, Bedford Park, SA 5042, Australia; Human Physiology, Medical School, Flinders University, Bedford Park, SA 5042, Australia.
5
Neuroscience Research Australia, Randwick, NSW 2031, Australia; University of New South Wales, Kensington, NSW 2052, Australia.
6
NHMRC Centre for Integrated Research and Understanding of Sleep, Woolcock Institute of Medical Research, Sydney Medical School, University of Sydney, Darlington, NSW 2008, Australia; Department of Respiratory and Sleep Medicine, Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, Camperdown, NSW 2050, Australia.
7
Discipline of Biomedical Sciences, School of Medical Sciences, Sydney Medical School, University of Sydney, Darlington, NSW 2008, Australia; Neuroscience Research Australia, Randwick, NSW 2031, Australia.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

Restless legs syndrome, now called Willis-Ekbom Disease (RLS/WED), is a sensorimotor-related sleep disorder. Little is known of the effect of RLS/WED on motor function. The current study investigated upper limb function in RLS/WED patients. We hypothesised that RLS/WED patients exhibit subtle changes in tremor amplitude but normal dexterity and movement speed and rhythmicity compared to healthy controls.

METHODS:

RLS/WED patients (n=17, 59 ± 7 years) with moderate disease and healthy controls (n=17, 58 ± 6 years) completed screening tests and five tasks including object manipulation, maximal pinch grip, flexion and extension of the index finger (tremor assessment), maximal finger tapping (movement speed and rhythmicity assessment), and the grooved pegboard test. Force, acceleration, and/or first dorsal interosseus EMG were recorded during four of the tasks.

RESULTS:

Task performance did not differ between groups. Learning was evident on tasks with repeated trials and the magnitude of learning did not differ between groups.

CONCLUSIONS:

Hand function, tremor, and task learning were unaffected in RLS/WED patients. Patients manipulated objects in a normal manner and exhibited normal movement speed, rhythmicity, and tremor.

SIGNIFICANCE:

Further research is needed to assess other types of movement in RLS/WED patients to gain insight into the motor circuitry affected and the underlying pathophysiology.

KEYWORDS:

Hand; Object manipulation; Pegboard; Pinch grip; Restless legs syndrome; Tremor

PMID:
25113274
DOI:
10.1016/j.clinph.2014.07.010
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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