Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Adults With Restless Legs Syndrome More Likely To Have ADHD

Date:
May 8, 2001
Source:
American Academy Of Neurology
Summary:
Adults who have restless legs syndrome are more likely to also have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) than adults who don't have the sleep disorder, according to research presented during the American Academy of Neurology’s 53rd Annual Meeting in Philadelphia.

PHILADELPHIA, PA – Adults who have restless legs syndrome are more likely to also have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) than adults who don't have the sleep disorder, according to research presented during the American Academy of Neurology’s 53rd Annual Meeting in Philadelphia, PA, May 5-11, 2001.

Related Articles


In restless legs syndrome (RLS), patients feel sensations of discomfort in their legs when they are sleeping or not active. The discomfort is relieved by moving or stimulating the legs. RLS can cause interrupted sleep and fatigue or sleepiness during the day.

ADHD is a genetic, biochemical disorder characterized by inattention, restlessness, distractability and impulsivity.

For the study, researchers at the New Jersey Neuroscience Institute at JFK Medical Center in Edison tested 56 adults with restless legs syndrome for ADHD symptoms and compared them to 77 people who did not have RLS. Thirty-nine percent of the patients met the criteria for "possible" ADHD, compared to 14 percent of controls. Of those, 21 percent of the patients met the criteria for "highly probable" ADHD, compared to four percent of controls.

Twenty-one of the 33 patients and controls with possible ADHD underwent additional, objective psychological testing. Of those, 100 percent of the patients had a profile consistent with that of ADHD, as did 86 percent of the controls. RLS patients with ADHD also had greater anxiety symptoms than controls with ADHD.

Those patients who had both restless legs and ADHD also had more severe RLS symptoms than the RLS patients without ADHD.

Researchers have a few theories why the disorders appear to be linked.

"The leg discomfort from RLS could cause people to be more hyperactive and distractable," said study author Mary L. Wagner, Pharm.D., of Rutgers University in Piscataway, NJ . "And being tired from having your sleep disrupted could cause people to be more inattentive. But it's not proven that having RLS leads to having ADHD. It could be that these disorders simply appear together frequently -- they may be genetically linked."

Another theory is that both disorders may be caused by a lack of dopamine in the brain. Dopamine is responsible for transmitting signals within the brain. A lack of dopamine can leave patients unable to control their movements normally. Evidence for this theory is that both disorders respond well to drugs that promote dopamine action in the brain.

"People with RLS should also be tested for ADHD, and vice versa," Wagner said. "That way these disorders can be diagnosed and treated more effectively."

The risk of ADHD or RLS is greater in people with a family history of the disorder. "A patient with ADHD or his or her family may be more likely to also have RLS, but more study is needed on this," Wagner said.

The American Academy of Neurology, an association of more than 17,000 neurologists and neuroscience professionals, is dedicated to improving patient care through education and research.

For more information about the American Academy of Neurology, visit its Web site at http://www.aan.com.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Academy Of Neurology. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

American Academy Of Neurology. "Adults With Restless Legs Syndrome More Likely To Have ADHD." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 8 May 2001. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2001/05/010508082849.htm>.
American Academy Of Neurology. (2001, May 8). Adults With Restless Legs Syndrome More Likely To Have ADHD. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 24, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2001/05/010508082849.htm
American Academy Of Neurology. "Adults With Restless Legs Syndrome More Likely To Have ADHD." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2001/05/010508082849.htm (accessed October 24, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Friday, October 24, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Breakfast Debate: To Eat Or Not To Eat?

Breakfast Debate: To Eat Or Not To Eat?

Newsy (Oct. 23, 2014) Conflicting studies published in the same week re-ignited the debate over whether we should be eating breakfast. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Fears Keep Guinea Hospitals Empty

Ebola Fears Keep Guinea Hospitals Empty

AP (Oct. 23, 2014) Fears of Ebola are keeping doctors and patients alike away from hospitals in the West African nation of Guinea. (Oct. 23) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Despite Rising Death Toll, Many Survive Ebola

Despite Rising Death Toll, Many Survive Ebola

AP (Oct. 23, 2014) The family of a Dallas nurse infected with Ebola in the US says doctors can no longer detect the virus in her. Despite the mounting death toll in West Africa, there are survivors there too. (Oct. 23) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Orthodontist Mom Jennifer Salzer on the Best Time for Braces

Orthodontist Mom Jennifer Salzer on the Best Time for Braces

Working Mother (Oct. 22, 2014) Is your child ready? Video provided by Working Mother
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins