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Restless Legs Syndrome Research

Restless legs syndrome (RLS) research focuses on increasing scientific understanding of RLS, finding improved methods of treatment, and discovering ways to prevent RLS. Research scientists are also studying how dopamine and pallidotomy relate to RLS.

An Overview of Restless Legs Syndrome Research

The goals of restless legs syndrome (RLS) research are to:
 
  • Increase scientific understanding of RLS
  • Find improved methods of RLS detection
  • Find improved methods of treating RLS
  • Discover ways to prevent RLS.
 
Two specific areas of restless legs syndrome research include understanding dopamine and pallidotomy.
 
Restless Legs Syndrome Research: Understanding Dopamine
RLS researchers are investigating the possible role of dopamine function in RLS. Dopamine is a chemical messenger responsible for transmitting signals between one area of the brain to another part of the brain, to produce smooth, purposeful muscle activity. Researchers suspect that impaired transmission of dopamine signals may play a role in RLS.
 
Restless Legs Syndrome Research: Pallidotomy
Research on pallidotomy, a surgical procedure in which a portion of the brain called the globus pallidus is lesioned, may lead to a possible RLS treatment. A recent RLS study showed that a patient with RLS and Parkinson's disease benefited from a pallidotomy and obtained relief from the limb discomfort caused by RLS. Additional research must be conducted to learn whether pallidotomy would be effective in RLS patients who do not also have Parkinson's disease.
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