October 18th, 2018

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Serum Folic Acid Level and Its Relationship to Gestational Willis Ekbom Disease (Restless Legs Syndrome): A Pilot Study
Authors:  Minesh Morker, M.D., Dana Gossett, M.D., Tacoma McKnight, M.D., Bhavita Patel, M.S., Moksha Patel, M.D., and Hrayr Attarian, M.D.
  OBJECTIVE: To determine the association between folic acid levels and restless legs syndrome (RLS) in pregnancy (gestational RLS [gRLS]).

STUDY DESIGN: We checked folic acid levels during scheduled clinic visits at 24–28 weeks of gestation. We conducted a brief clinical interview to determine who met the International RLS Study Group (IRLSSG) criteria for gRLS. Those with moderate or severe RLS (IRLSSG severity scale of >10) and with symptoms occurring >3 days a week were included in the +gRLS group. The rest were included in the −gRLS (comparison) group.

RESULTS: We demonstrated a significant difference (p<0.05) in mean folic acid levels in women who were in the +gRLS group vs. those in the −gRLS group: 27.3±12.9 ng/mL (median, 25 ng/mL) vs. 32.2±20.6 ng/mL (median, 28 ng/mL), respectively (p<0.03 on two-sample independent t test).

CONCLUSION: Folic acid levels can be easily and inexpensively checked or supplemental folic acid can be given to women with moderate to severe gRLS. In the future we hope to build on this work with a larger comprehensive trial looking at other biomarkers and their association with folic acid levels and gRLS.
Keywords:  dysesthesia, dopaminergic effect, folic acid, gestational, insufficient sleep syndrome, paresthesia, pregnancy, pregnancy complications, restless legs, restless legs syndrome, sleep deprivation, Willis Ekbom disease
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