Friday, November 2, 2007
Medical Reports: Restless legs
Tonight, more than 12 million Americans will have a tough time getting a good night's sleep. They suffer from a painful problem that keeps people awake and moving. In today's Healthcast, Seven's Christine Cruz shows us how a new method is helping doctors diagnose this disruptive disorder.
WSVN -- Flower shop owner Betty Shaw and her daughter Cyndi Foshee take pride in their colorful creations, but a lack of sleep was taking a toll on both of them.
Cyndi Foshee: "When you don't sleep at night, it's hard to keep your concentration."
Betty and Cyndi suffer from Restless Legs Syndrome or RLS, and, at night, they have an uncontrollable need to move their legs.
Betty Shaw: "My legs jerk first, and then it feels like something crawling, almost like something is biting me."
David Rye: "A sort of movement like this occurs about every 22 seconds."
In just an hour, you can see how much this person moved. Every black line indicates a kick.
David Rye: "You'll see folks kicking 60, 70, 80, 90, 100 times an hour."
The strongest kicks ...
David Rye: "That would be sort of a movement like that."
Now, neurologist David Rye is using this device to diagnose RLS. Patients strap it on their ankle before they go to bed and it records leg movement over a period of five nights.
David Rye: "You're actually able to discriminate a movement and then the movement going away."
While doctors still don't know what causes restless legs, they're making strides in the right direction. By using the information from the ankle device and other research, RLS is now being linked to gene abnormalities that may cause up to 80 percent of all cases.
Cyndi Foshee: "My 18-year-old daughter is showing signs of it. It breaks your heart."
Just another reason this family hopes the new information will lead to a cure and let them wake up as rested and fresh as their sweet smelling business.
Christine Cruz: "Also, doctors say new research shows Restless Leg Syndrome could be a predictor of a much bigger problem, cardiovascular disease, so it's important to speak to your doctor if you think you might have RLS."
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
Contact: Jennifer Johnson
Emory University Medical Center