Genetically Altered Flies Reveal Cause Of Restless Leg Syndrome

Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS) is the tingling feeling or unavoidable urge to move limbs (usually legs), usually while the body is at rest.  Individuals who suffer from RLS find it difficult or even impossible to sleep during episodes.  Until recently, doctors and scientists had no idea what caused it.  In fact, some doubted it truly exists.  But, new research may have found the answer.

A study conducted at the Emory University School of Medicine has revealed a genetic cause for RLS using genetically altered flies. The flies’ DNA was altered to contain the gene BTBD9, the same gene in humans that has been suspected to cause the disorder. When the mutated flies began twitching and having fragmented sleep the same ways that humans would when suffering from RLS, it was proven that RLS is an actual syndrome.

Although this study reveals the genetic factors of RLS, much more research must be done on exactly was the B2BD9 gene does throughout the brain and the nervous system. This further research will help sleep and brain experts to better understand treatment options.

Source: Discover Magazine

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