Journal of Neurology

, Volume 249, Issue 9, pp 1195–1199

Iron metabolism and the risk of Restless Legs Syndrome in an elderly general population – The MEMO-Study

  • Klaus Berger
  • Arnold von Eckardstein
  • Claudia Trenkwalder
  • Andreas Rothdach
  • Ralf Junker
  • Stephan Karl Weiland
Original Communication

DOI: 10.1007/s00415-002-0805-2

Cite this article as:
Berger, K., von Eckardstein, A., Trenkwalder, C. et al. J Neurol (2002) 249: 1195. doi:10.1007/s00415-002-0805-2

Abstract

Background: Low iron and ferritin blood levels have been observed in patients with Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS) with an inverse relation between symptom severity and ferritin level. All reports are based on single cases or case series of hospitalized patients or those from outpatient clinics. No data from population studies are available. Methods: Cross-sectional study examining the associations between 5 measures of iron metabolism and RLS in an elderly general population in southern Germany. All 365 participants, aged 65 to 83 years, were examined neurologically and interviewed using standardized questions addressing the four minimal criteria for RLS. Iron, ferritin, transferrin, soluble transferrin receptor and C-Reactive Protein were analysed with standard laboratory methods. Results: The prevalence of Restless Legs Syndrome in this population was 9.8 %. Odds Ratios associated with Restless Legs were significantly increased in the fourth quintile of iron (OR 3.08 95 % CI 1.02–9.29) and transferrin saturation (OR 5.68 95 % CI 1.18–27.26) compared with the third (middle) quintile. Increases in the first (lowest) quintile of both measures were not or borderline significant. No associations with ferritin and soluble transferrin receptor were found. Conclusions: No evidence was found that iron or ferritin deficiency are a major cause of RLS in this population study. The results support the hypothesis that changes in the complex regulation of iron metabolism contribute to the occurence of RLS.

Key words restless legs syndrome population studies iron ferritin transferrin transferrin receptor epidemiology 

Copyright information

© Steinkopff Verlag 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  • Klaus Berger
    • 1
  • Arnold von Eckardstein
    • 2
  • Claudia Trenkwalder
    • 4
  • Andreas Rothdach
    • 5
  • Ralf Junker
    • 2
  • Stephan Karl Weiland
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute of Epidemiology and Social Medicine, University of Muenster, Domagkstr. 3, 48149 Muenster, Germany. bergerk@uni-muenster.deGermany
  2. 2.Institute of Arteriosclerosis Research, University of Muenster, Domagkstr. 3, 48149 Muenster, GermanyGermany
  3. 3.Institute of Clinical Chemistry, University of Zuerich, Rämistr. 100, 8091 Zuerich, SwitzerlandSwitzerland
  4. 4.Department of Clinical Neurophysiology, University of Goettingen, Robert-Koch-Str. 40, 37075 Goettingen, GermanyGermany
  5. 5.Department of Neurology, Rheinische Landesklinik Bonn, Kaiser-Karl Ring 20, 53111 Bonn, GermanyGermany
  6. 6.Dept. of Epidemiology University of Ulm, Helmholtzstr. 2, 89081 Ulm, GermanyGermany

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