Campus Life

Restless Legs Syndrome clinic accepting patients

Penn State Hershey Neuroscience Institute recently established a clinic for individuals suffering from Restless Legs Syndrome (Willis-Ekbom Disease). Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS) is a sensorimotor disorder that affects 5 to 15 percent of the population. Individuals suffering from RLS typically experience sensations in their legs that are associated with an irresistible urge to move the legs. These sensations tend to worsen at night, keeping individuals from sleeping.

There are compelling data to suggest that RLS is an inherited disorder, with more than 50 percent of the sufferers having a family member that also has the disorder. Although RLS can affect individuals at any age, incidence appears to increase with age. Individuals who suffer from RLS have a significant decrease in quality of life, including increases in sleep disturbance, lost productivity, and increased incidence of depression. The loss in productivity for those with the disorder not only results from the increase in fatigue associated with decreased quantity and quality of sleep, but also because many individuals who suffer from RLS are forced to take early retirement. In addition, the bed-partner of the individual with RLS shares the disorder because they also suffer from disturbed sleep, frequently ending up sleeping in separate bedrooms and furthering the negative impact on quality of life.

Under the direction of Dr. Max Lowden, board-certified neurologist, the RLS clinic is offered in the neurology suite located at 30 Hope Drive on the East Health Campus of Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center. To schedule an appointment, call 717-531-3828, option 1 or 800-243-1455.

In addition to expert clinical care, RLS patients at Penn State Hershey have opportunities to participate in state-of-the-art research to understand the cause and develop a cure for the disorder. Scientists at Penn State Hershey have been at the forefront of understanding the biological basis of the disorder. They offer treatment options for those patients whose RLS symptoms are not responding to medical management and involve painful sensations.

Stephanie Patton has been awarded her fourth grant from the RLS Foundation. This year’s grant has the potential to develop and identify diagnostic and treatment strategies. The full article is available from the RLS Foundation.

For more information on Restless Legs Syndrome, go to, or watch this video featuring Dr. Lowden: online.

Max Lowden, board-certified neurologist, at the Restless Legs Syndrome clinic at Penn State Hershey Neuroscience Institute. Credit: Penn StateCreative Commons

Last Updated September 20, 2012