Restless Legs Syndrome May Be Hereditary

December 5, 2011

While most sleep physicians have long suspected a connection between RLS and genetics, researchers have not been able to definitively find the link.

A new study, however, has discovered two faulty genes that cause restless leg syndrome. People who inherited the mutations are much more likely to develop restless leg syndrome

The discovery sheds light on the origins of one of the most common nerve disorders, and could pave the way for new drugs to help sufferers.

Around one in 10 adults experiences restless leg syndrome at some point in their life. Sufferers experience unpleasant sensations in their legs which can only be eased by moving, walking or jiggling.

The new study looked at the genetic make-up of 4,867 volunteers with RLS and compared them to more than 7,000 individuals without the syndrome. Scientists found two new areas on the genome which play a role. One area is within a gene involved in controlling brain activity called TOX3.

TOX3 is involved in protecting brain cells – but its link to restless leg syndrome is still unknown. However, the discoveries could lead to new treatments for the condition.

While the sleep disorder most commonly affects legs, it can also be experienced in the arms or torso. The constant need to move causes patterns of interrupted or restless sleep. More than 5 million Americans suffer from RLS.

NeuroTrials Research, will soon be conducting a new research study on RLS. This research is groundbreaking as it involves an entirely new drug class for individuals suffering from RLS. For more information on the study,visit the study page.