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J Clin Sleep Med. 2018 May 15;14(5):785-790. doi: 10.5664/jcsm.7106.

Executive and Visuospatial Dysfunction in Patients With Primary Restless Legs Syndrome/Willis-Ekbom Disease: Study of a Chinese Population.

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Department of Neurology and Institute of Neurology, Ruijin Hospital, Shanghai Jiaotong University School of Medicine, Shanghai, China; *contributed equally.



The aim of the study was to investigate the cognitive function of patients with primary restless legs syndrome/Willis-Ekbom disease (RLS/ WED) in a Chinese population.


A total of 40 patients with RLS/WED who were drug naïve and 40 controls, matched by age, sex, and educational level, were evaluated by cognitive function assessments, including the Chinese version of the Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE-C), clock drawing test (CDT), Auditory Verbal Learning Test (AVLT), Rey-Osterrieth Complex Figure Test (CFT), and Stroop Color Word Test (SCWT).


Patients with RLS/WED showed worse performance on the SCWT (Stroop Card C time: 102.36 ± 17.12 versus 87.08 ± 7.73 seconds, P = .033; Interference Index: 3.39 ± 0.38 versus 2.90 ± 0.15, P < .0001), CFT (24.05 ± 9.28 versus 33.74 ± 1.59, P = .008), and CDT than controls (16-score method: 10.13 ± 3.94 versus 13.98 ± 1.79, P = .0002) after adjusting for Hamilton Anxiety Scale score, Hamilton Depression Scale score, Epworth Sleepiness Scale score, and Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index total score to eliminate the confounders of concomitant sleep disturbances, anxiety, and depression.


Our study suggested that cognitive functions involving executive and visuospatial domains might be disturbed in Chinese patients with primary RLS/WED.


executive dysfunction; restless legs syndrome/Willis-Ekbom disease; visuospatial dysfunction

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