Restless leg syndrome


Investigating brain function in RLS



Restless legs syndrome is thought to affect around 1 in 20 people, although it’s likely that this condition is under-reported. Symptoms include crawling, tingling or aching sensations in the legs and sometimes arms. Symptoms often flare up at night, and can disturb sleep. People with this condition find that getting up and moving their legs can temporarily relieve symptoms. As a result, sleep deprivation is a common side effect of this condition.

Restless legs syndrome affects people of all ages, and generally worsens with age. Drug treatments are available, but can increase symptoms in some people.

About our research

Assoc Prof Kay Double is currently undertaking a study to help us understand what happens in the brain to cause the symptoms of restless legs syndrome.

We are using ultrasound and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to look for changes in the structure and function of the brain, particularly in an area known as the nigrostriatal tract. This bundle of nerves is involved in the control of movement.

Our preliminary results suggest that people with this disorder have up to 80 percent less function in this brain region compared with healthy people.

We are currently recruiting people for this study. Find out more about participating here.

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Ten siblings. One third live (or have passed away) with dementia.

The scourge of dementia runs deep in Lorna Clement's family. Of the eleven children her dear parents raised, four live (or have passed away) with complications of the disease. Her mother also died of Alzheimer's disease, bringing the family total to five. This is the mystery of dementia - One family, with two very different ageing outcomes. You will have read that lifestyle is an important factor in reducing the risk of dementia. We also know diet is a key factor, and an aspect that Dr Ruth Peter's is exploring at NeuRA. Along with leading teams delivering high profile evidence synthesis work in the area of dementia risk reduction, Dr Peters has a particular interest in hypertension (that is, high blood pressure) and in the treatment of hypertension in older adults. “We have known for a while that treating high blood pressure reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke, but it is becoming clearer that controlling blood pressure may also help to reduce the risk of cognitive decline and dementia. Now we need to know what the best blood pressure is to protect brain health.” You are invited to read more about Lorna's story and Dr Peter's work, by clicking 'Read the full story' below. Please support dementia research at NeuRA Will you consider a gift today to help Dr Peter's unlock the secrets of healthy ageing and reduce the risk of dementia? Research into ageing and dementia at NeuRA will arm doctors and other medical professionals with the tools they need to help prevent dementia in our communities. Thank you for your support.