Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Study finds a high rate of restless legs syndrome in adults with fibromyalgia

Participants with fibromyalgia were 11 times more likely to have RLS than healthy controls

A study in the Oct. 15 issue of the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine found that adults with fibromyalgia had a much higher prevalence and risk of restless legs syndrome than healthy controls. The study suggests that treating RLS may improve sleep and quality of life in people with fibromyalgia.

Results show that the prevalence of restless legs syndrome was about 10 times higher in the fibromyalgia group (33 percent) than among controls (3.1 percent). After statistical adjustments for potential confounders such as age, gender and ethnicity, participants with fibromyalgia were 11 times more likely than controls to have RLS (odds ratio = 11.2). As expected, considerable sleep disruption was reported by participants with fibromyalgia using the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index, Insomnia Severity Index and Epworth Sleepiness Scale. In the fibromyalgia group these sleep problems were more severe among people who also had RLS.

"Sleep disruption is common in fibromyalgia, and often difficult to treat," said contributing author Dr. Nathaniel F. Watson, associate professor of neurology at the University of Washington in Seattle, Wash. "It is apparent from our study that a substantial portion of sleep disruption in fibromyalgia is due to restless legs syndrome."

The research team led by Dr. Watson and lead author Dr. Mari Viola-Saltzman of Loyola University Medical Center in Maywood, Ill., studied 172 people with fibromyalgia who had a mean age of 50 years; 93 percent were female. They were compared with 63 healthy controls who had a mean age of 41 years.

Fibromyalgia was identified by self-report or review of the medical records, and it was confirmed on examination according to published guidelines regarding the presence of pain that is chronic and widespread. Pain was assessed by subjective report and by objective measurement with a dolorimeter, a spring-loaded gauge that is used to apply standardized rates of pressure to tender points on the arms and legs.

According to the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases, fibromyalgia can cause significant pain and fatigue. It is estimated to affect 5 million Americans age 18 or older, and between 80 and 90 percent of those diagnosed with fibromyalgia are women. The causes of fibromyalgia remain unknown.

Restless legs syndrome was diagnosed using a self-administered, validated questionnaire. RLS is a sleep-related movement disorder that involves an urge to move the legs that is usually accompanied or caused by uncomfortable and unpleasant sensations in the legs. This urge begins or worsens during periods of rest or inactivity, is partially or totally resolved by movement, and worsens or only occurs at night. RLS occurs 1.5 to two times more commonly in women than in men.

Watson noted that treating restless legs syndrome may be one of the keys to reducing fatigue and improving quality of life in people with fibromyalgia. RLS often can be successfully treated with a medication such as pramipexole or ropinirole.

"Since restless legs syndrome is a treatable condition, diagnosing and treating RLS in fibromyalgia patients has the potential to improve their sleep," Watson said.

According to the authors, the cross-sectional nature of the study did not allow for an examination of causality. However, several aspects of the two syndromes suggest a logical overlap. Both disorders involve sensory abnormalities, and a similar pathophysiology of the system that regulates the neurotransmitter dopamine has been proposed for both syndromes. Furthermore, restless legs syndrome may be induced by antidepressants, which are a common treatment for pain and depression in fibromyalgia. Also, exercise has been shown to improve the symptoms of both syndromes.

The study was supported by the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases of the National Institutes of Health and by the National Fibromyalgia Research Association.

More information about restless legs syndrome is available from the American Academy of Sleep Medicine at

The peer-reviewed Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine is published bimonthly and is the official publication of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, a professional membership society that is the leader in setting standards and promoting excellence in sleep medicine health care, education and research.

For a copy of the study, "High prevalence of restless legs syndrome among patients with fibromyalgia: a controlled cross-sectional study," or to arrange an interview with an AASM spokesperson, please contact Public Relations Coordinator Emilee McStay at 630-737-9700, ext. 9345, or

Emilee McStay | EurekAlert!
Further information:

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht Diagnoses: When Are Several Opinions Better Than One?
19.07.2016 | Max-Planck-Institut für Bildungsforschung

nachricht High in calories and low in nutrients when adolescents share pictures of food online
07.04.2016 | University of Gothenburg

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

Im Focus: New Products - Highlights of COMPAMED 2016

COMPAMED has become the leading international marketplace for suppliers of medical manufacturing. The trade fair, which takes place every November and is co-located to MEDICA in Dusseldorf, has been steadily growing over the past years and shows that medical technology remains a rapidly growing market.

In 2016, the joint pavilion by the IVAM Microtechnology Network, the Product Market “High-tech for Medical Devices”, will be located in Hall 8a again and will...

Im Focus: Ultra-thin ferroelectric material for next-generation electronics

'Ferroelectric' materials can switch between different states of electrical polarization in response to an external electric field. This flexibility means they show promise for many applications, for example in electronic devices and computer memory. Current ferroelectric materials are highly valued for their thermal and chemical stability and rapid electro-mechanical responses, but creating a material that is scalable down to the tiny sizes needed for technologies like silicon-based semiconductors (Si-based CMOS) has proven challenging.

Now, Hiroshi Funakubo and co-workers at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, in collaboration with researchers across Japan, have conducted experiments to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Resolving the mystery of preeclampsia

21.10.2016 | Health and Medicine

Stanford researchers create new special-purpose computer that may someday save us billions

21.10.2016 | Information Technology

From ancient fossils to future cars

21.10.2016 | Materials Sciences

More VideoLinks >>>