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Restless Legs Syndrome: A Metabolic Disorder?

Israel Machtey, MD, PhD
Arch Intern Med. 1996;156(20):2386. doi:10.1001/archinte.1996.00440190144015.
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The cause of restless legs syndrome (RLS) is an enigma. In an interesting review article that appeared in the February 12, 1996, issue of the Archives, O'Keeffe1 emphasizes that many reports on the etiology of RLS "are based on small series or case reports." Of 2335 patients who were randomly chosen from more than 7000 patients with rheumatism who were seen at the Rheumatology Clinic, Hasharon Hospital, Petah Tiqwa, Israel, 2.89% were diagnosed as having RLS (a total of more than 200 patients). The male-female ratio was 1:1.5.

My colleagues and I found 2 characteristics to be of particular interest: age and diabetes mellitus (DM).

We specifically investigated a group of 80 otherwise healthy patients with RLS, mostly women, and the data were compared with those of 150 controls.2 Two peaks of RLS incidence were found: one among individuals aged 41 to 50 years (26% of the patient


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