Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Mayo Clinic finds restless legs syndrome in children linked to family history, iron deficiency

29.12.2004


A new Mayo Clinic study has for the first time established rates of restless legs syndrome in children, finding that almost 6 percent of children seen in Mayo"s sleep clinic have the disease. The study, published in this month’s issue of Annals of Neurology, also notes that the most common risk factors for the disease in kids are family history of restless legs syndrome and iron deficiency.



"Restless legs syndrome is underdiagnosed in kids," says Suresh Kotagal, M.D., chair of Mayo Clinic pediatric neurology and a sleep specialist. "If you look at children with difficulty falling asleep, you’ll see a fair number have restless legs. Thus far, there have been sporadic case reports, but nobody has studied a larger group of children, looking at children with insomnia complaints as a whole to see how many had restless legs syndrome."

Dr. Kotagal and his colleague Michael Silber, M.B.Ch.B., Mayo Clinic neurologist and sleep specialist, indicate that restless legs syndrome may account for some of the age-old notion of "growing pains."


"It’s been known for decades that children have ’growing pains,’" says Dr. Kotagal. "Studies by other investigators have now shown that growing pains in some children may actually be restless legs syndrome."

Dr. Kotagal says that while infrequent "growing pains" may be immaterial, parents and children should be alert for a habitual pattern of discomfort in the limbs around bedtime.

"Occasional growing pains are nothing to worry about, but growing pains every night may be restless legs syndrome," he says. "It’s like the fact that somebody might snore one or two days a month, but if it happens every night, it may be something that needs medical attention."

The study examined the records of 538 children who had been seen in the pediatric sleep disorders program at Mayo Clinic between Jan. 2000 and March 2004. New, rigidly defined diagnostic criteria established by a consensus conference of the National Institutes of Health and the International Restless Legs Syndrome Foundation in 2003 allowed the Mayo Clinic researchers to classify their 32 patients as having probable restless legs in nine cases and definite restless legs syndrome in 23 cases. Those in the probable restless legs syndrome group were more likely to be younger. The most common symptoms were trouble getting to sleep or staying asleep, which affected 87.5 percent. One commonality in the restless legs syndrome patients was a low iron level in the blood (as measured by serum ferritin) seen in 83 percent of the patients, the explanation for which is unknown, according to Dr. Kotagal.

"With regard to the iron deficiency, we don’t know if it’s the diet or a genetic predisposition to low iron levels," says Dr. Kotagal. Drs. Kotagal and Silber also found family history of restless legs syndrome in 23 out of 32 patients identified to have restless legs syndrome in the study, or 72 percent. The child’s mother was three times more likely to be the parent affected with restless legs syndrome.

"There seems to be a strong genetic component in restless legs syndrome," says Dr. Kotagal. "Very often when taking the medical history with the child, the parents say they have a similar condition."

An additional characteristic seen in 25 percent of the patients was inattentiveness.

The researchers note that the symptoms of restless legs occur most often in the evening or around bedtime. Symptoms include discomfort or needing to move the legs, which is alleviated by moving around.

"Children very often describe it as ’creepy crawlies,’ as ’ouchies’ or ’owies,’" says Dr. Kotagal. "It feels like bugs crawling on the legs. One child described it as feeling like he was walking though snow. There is also an uncontrollable urge to move the legs."

Dr. Kotagal believes that it is important to recognize and treat this condition, as it hampers a child’s lifestyle. "If affects the quality of life," he says. "They wake up frequently in the night. They wake up tired. They may also be inattentive during the day." The long-term outcome of childhood restless legs syndrome is not known, according to Dr. Kotagal, but it is treatable using medications that increase the levels of dopamine in the central nervous system. Dr. Kotagal notes that there is evidence that iron seems to be very important to the synthesis of dopamine in the body. He says that there is not yet sufficient evidence, however, that treatment with iron helps relieve restless legs syndrome in children.

Dr. Kotagal indicates that there may be connections between restless legs syndrome and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. The treatments for both conditions address somewhat the same chemical imbalance, he notes.

"When we look at kids who have decreased attention span, over one-third of them will have sleep apnea or restless legs syndrome," he says. "We can say that it goes to further affirm the fact that inattentiveness is multifactorial -- due to depression, anxiety, stressors in the child’s life, obstruction of breathing passageways, sleep apnea or restless legs. We need to look at all of these possibilities."

Lisa Lucier | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.mayo.edu

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht NIST scientists discover how to switch liver cancer cell growth from 2-D to 3-D structures
17.11.2017 | National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)

nachricht High speed video recording precisely measures blood cell velocity
15.11.2017 | ITMO University

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: A “cosmic snake” reveals the structure of remote galaxies

The formation of stars in distant galaxies is still largely unexplored. For the first time, astron-omers at the University of Geneva have now been able to closely observe a star system six billion light-years away. In doing so, they are confirming earlier simulations made by the University of Zurich. One special effect is made possible by the multiple reflections of images that run through the cosmos like a snake.

Today, astronomers have a pretty accurate idea of how stars were formed in the recent cosmic past. But do these laws also apply to older galaxies? For around a...

Im Focus: Visual intelligence is not the same as IQ

Just because someone is smart and well-motivated doesn't mean he or she can learn the visual skills needed to excel at tasks like matching fingerprints, interpreting medical X-rays, keeping track of aircraft on radar displays or forensic face matching.

That is the implication of a new study which shows for the first time that there is a broad range of differences in people's visual ability and that these...

Im Focus: Novel Nano-CT device creates high-resolution 3D-X-rays of tiny velvet worm legs

Computer Tomography (CT) is a standard procedure in hospitals, but so far, the technology has not been suitable for imaging extremely small objects. In PNAS, a team from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) describes a Nano-CT device that creates three-dimensional x-ray images at resolutions up to 100 nanometers. The first test application: Together with colleagues from the University of Kassel and Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht the researchers analyzed the locomotory system of a velvet worm.

During a CT analysis, the object under investigation is x-rayed and a detector measures the respective amount of radiation absorbed from various angles....

Im Focus: Researchers Develop Data Bus for Quantum Computer

The quantum world is fragile; error correction codes are needed to protect the information stored in a quantum object from the deteriorating effects of noise. Quantum physicists in Innsbruck have developed a protocol to pass quantum information between differently encoded building blocks of a future quantum computer, such as processors and memories. Scientists may use this protocol in the future to build a data bus for quantum computers. The researchers have published their work in the journal Nature Communications.

Future quantum computers will be able to solve problems where conventional computers fail today. We are still far away from any large-scale implementation,...

Im Focus: Wrinkles give heat a jolt in pillared graphene

Rice University researchers test 3-D carbon nanostructures' thermal transport abilities

Pillared graphene would transfer heat better if the theoretical material had a few asymmetric junctions that caused wrinkles, according to Rice University...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Ecology Across Borders: International conference brings together 1,500 ecologists

15.11.2017 | Event News

Road into laboratory: Users discuss biaxial fatigue-testing for car and truck wheel

15.11.2017 | Event News

#Berlin5GWeek: The right network for Industry 4.0

30.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

NASA detects solar flare pulses at Sun and Earth

17.11.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

NIST scientists discover how to switch liver cancer cell growth from 2-D to 3-D structures

17.11.2017 | Health and Medicine

The importance of biodiversity in forests could increase due to climate change

17.11.2017 | Studies and Analyses

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>