Does restless legs syndrome impact cognitive function via sleep quality in adults with Parkinson’s disease?

Academic Article


  • Purpose: Restless legs syndrome (RLS) is a sleep disorder that results in sleep dysfunction. Sleep disruption can have profound negative consequences in adults with Parkinson’s disease (PD), potentially including cognitive dysfunction. This study examined the relationships among RLS, cognition, and sleep quality in persons with PD. Materials and methods: Participants (N = 79) with idiopathic PD completed six questionnaires evaluating RLS, sleep quality, daytime sleepiness, global cognitive function, sleep apnea risk, and depression. Participants were further examined for body mass index composition and motor symptom severity (MDS-UPDRS Part III). Results: Persons with RLS (n = 25) had significantly worse cognitive function (p = 0.035, d = −0.56) and sleep quality (p < 0.0001, d = −1.19), and more daytime sleepiness (p = 0.009, d = 0.67) than those without RLS (n = 54). Cognitive function was not significantly correlated with sleep quality (rs = 0.113) or daytime sleepiness (rs = −0.001). The association between RLS and cognition was not attenuated by controlling for sleep quality or daytime sleepiness. Conclusions: This study is unique as it is the first to consider the possibility that RLS in PD may be associated with cognitive deficits through a pathway involving sleep quality. Persons with RLS and PD have greater deficits in both sleep quality and cognitive function than individuals without RLS; however, cognitive dysfunction among those with PD and RLS in this sample is not accounted for by sleep quality.
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    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Cederberg KL; Brinkley EB; Belotserkovkaya N; Memon RA; Motl RW; Amara AW
  • Start Page

  • 322
  • End Page

  • 329
  • Volume

  • 130
  • Issue

  • 4