A team of scientists have written a scientific paper that contains overwhelming evidence that points to inflammation as the primary cause of Restless Legs Syndrome.
Leonard B. Weinstock, MD, Arthur S. Walters, MD, and Paisit Paueksakon, MD have written a paper titled "Restless Legs Syndrome: Theoretical Roles of Inflammatory and Immune Mechanisms."
Leonard B. Weinstock, MD, Department of Internal Medicine, Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, MO and the Specialists in Gastroenterology, LLC in St. Louis.
Arthur S. Walters, MD, Dept of Neurology, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, Nashville, TN.
Paisit Paueksakon, MD, Department of Pathology, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, Nashville, TN.
In the Restless Legs community, Dr. Weinstock is best known for his studies showing that a higher rate of RLS occurs with patients suffering from Crohn's Disease, SIBO (Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth) and Irritable Bowel Disease. All three of these are inflamatory conditions.
In 1992, Dr. Walters organized the first medical advisory board for the Restless Legs Syndrome foundation (RLSF), a nationwide patient based support group organization. He served as the first chair of this board and remains a member. The RLSF has played a key role in educating both the public and physicians about RLS.
Dr. Paueksakon specializes in renal pathology involving mechanisms and pathophysiology of diabetic nephropathy and paraprotein related disease.
The title of their study is "Restless Legs Syndrome: Theoretical Roles of Inflammatory and Immune Mechanisms."
In the scientific community, and in the RLS community, this SHOULD be a groundbreaking work!
Here is an excerpt.
"A literature search for conditions highly-associated with RLS was performed. These included secondary RLS disorders and factors that exacerbate RLS. All of these conditions were reviewed with respect to potential pathogenesis including reports of iron deficiency, neuropathy, SIBO, inflammation and immune changes.
Overall, 36 of the 41 RLS-associated conditions (88%) have been associated with inflammatory and/or immune changes.
The fact that the majority of highly RLS associated conditions are also associated with inflammatory/immune changes suggests the possibility that RLS may be mediated or affected through these mechanisms."
CLICK HERE to read the FULL study.
For details on the 42 inflammatory conditions that display significantly higher occurences of RLS, please visit the
Conditions that are Linked to RLS web page.
You may have noticed in the above excerpt that only 88% of the conditions that have a distinct relationship with RLS were inflammatory.
If inflammation is really the issue, why are the results not 100%?
There's actually a simple explanation. Below are the conditions that the doctors have listed in their study as being non inflammatory:
Essential Tremor Movement Disorder is one of the conditions listed as not inflammatory. This is due to the fact that no real testing has been done to determine if it is an inflammatory condition or not.
A similar condition, Parkinson's Disease, is definitely known to be inflammatory. Also, studies have found that Essential Tremor Movement Disorder is significantly higher in elderly patients, and those with Azheimer's ... which are both inflammatory conditions.
Essential Tremor Movement Disorder is so closely linked to Parkinson's Disease that there is often difficulty determining which condition a person has:
Here's an exerpt from a recent study ...
Clinical distinction between advanced essential tremor and tremulous Parkinson's disease can be difficult.
"A new diagnostic test to distinguish tremulous Parkinson's disease from advanced essential tremor." Muthuraman M, Hossen A, Heute U, Deuschl G, Raethjen J. Mov Disord. 2011 Apr 25. doi: 10.1002/mds.23672.
Gastric resection is another condition listed as non inflammatory. However, it's not really a condition. It's more of a procedure.
Here's the definition ...
Gastric Resection |
Etymology: Gk, gaster, stomach; L, re + secare, to cut
the surgical removal of part or all of the stomach, usually performed in the treatment of stomach cancer or intractable peptic ulcer.
Both cancer and ulcers are inflammatory conditions.
The third condition was Bruxism, which is the grinding of teeth at night.
Here's an excerpt from the Bruxism/RLS study:
In logistic regression, frequent bruxism (p < 0.05) and older age (p < 0.05) were significantly positively associated with RLS. Dissatisfaction with one's current workshift schedule (p < 0.05) and RLS (p < 0.05) were significantly positively associated with frequent bruxism, while age (p < 0.05) was significantly negatively associated. In conclusion, perceived bruxism may be a sign of a stressful situation or dissatisfaction, while RLS as a more stable trait may in itself negatively affect sleep quality and further enhance the problem.
"Reported bruxism and restless legs syndrome in media personnel with or without irregular shift work." Ahlberg K, Ahlberg J, Könönen M, Partinen M, Hublin C, Savolainen A. Acta Odontol Scand. 2005 Apr;63(2):94-8.
Again, not really a medical condition. It's more of a lifestyle/stress related condition.
You don't have to be a scientist to deduce that stress directly involved with the grinding of teeth. Stress is an obvious breeding ground for inflammation. Researchers have now found a definite link:
"A research team led by Carnegie Mellon University's Sheldon Cohen has found that chronic psychological stress is associated with the body losing its ability to regulate the inflammatory response. Published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the research shows for the first time that the effects of psychological stress on the body's ability to regulate inflammation can promote the development and progression of disease. Inflammation is partly regulated by the hormone cortisol and when cortisol is not allowed to serve this function, inflammation can get out of control. stress alters the effectiveness of cortisol to regulate the inflammatory response because it decreases tissue sensitivity to the hormone. Specifically, immune cells become insensitive to cortisol's regulatory effect. In turn, runaway inflammation is thought to promote the development and progression of many diseases."
How Stress Influences Disease: Carnegie Mellon Study Reveals Inflammation as the Culprit." Carnegie Mellon News (April 2012).
Their results showed that individuals who exhibited greater neural activity in the dorsal anterior cingulate cortex and anterior insula during social rejection in the brain scanner also exhibited greater increases in inflammatory activity when exposed to acute social stress in the lab.
"This is further evidence of how closely our mind and body are connected," Slavich said. "We have known for a long time that social stress can 'get under the skin' to increase risk for disease, but it's been unclear exactly how these effects occur. To our knowledge, this study is the first to identify the neurocognitive pathways that might be involved in inflammatory responses to acute social stress."
"Brain pathways linking social stress and inflammation identified." University of California - Los Angeles (2010, August 9). ScienceDaily. Retrieved June 22, 2011 http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/08/100809133323.htm