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Why Do People Have Restless Leg Syndrome?

People with restless legs syndrome have uncomfortable sensations in their legs (and sometimes arms or other parts of the body) and an irresistible urge to move their legs to relieve the sensations. The condition causes an uncomfortable, "itchy,""pins and needles," or "creepy crawly" feeling in the legs. The sensations are usually worse at rest, especially when lying or sitting. The strange sensation in the calves is a type of cramp, soreness or a creeping, crawling feeling. The sensations range in severity from uncomfortable to irritating to painful.

In the new study,brain scans were performed on 28 people with restless legs syndrome and a control group of 51 people without the disorder. The brain scans revealed that people with restless legs syndrome had an average of 7.5% of less tissue thickness in the somatosensory cortex. This is the area that produces sensations such as touch, pain, movement, position and temperature. The people with restless leg syndrome also had a decrease in the brain region where nerve fibres connect the two sides of the brain.

Exercise and iron supplements may reduce symptoms, the researchers said. There are medications for more serious cases, but many have significant side effects if taken for too long.

By: Swati Kaushal


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