Cranial Electrotherapy for Military Beneficiaries with Restless Legs Syndrome


Name: Terri Yost

Rank: LTC

Organization: The Geneva Foundation

Performance Site: Tripler Army Medical Center, HI

Year Published: 2013

Abstract Status:


Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS) is a chronic neurologic disease that causes painful and distressing dysesthesias in the lower extremities at night affecting sleep quality and greatly influencing general overall health. Leading theories as to the cause of RLS symptoms point to a deficiency of CNS dopamine levels. Cranial Electrical Stimulation (CES) is a therapy that has been shown to affect activity in dopaminergic  regions of the brain. The purpose of this study is to assess the feasibility and efficacy of CES therapy in the management of symptoms of RLS. The overall study design will use mixed methods. The specific aims for the experimental analysis are to (1) determine the feasibility of the implementation of a CES treatment regimen in a population of military beneficiaries with RLS by monitoring levels of interest in the study, recruitment time, attrition rates, and adherence to the study protocol; and (2) gather preliminary data using CES to compare differences in RLS symptom severity and quality of life in individuals randomized to one of three study groups: a usual care group, an inactive (sham) device group, or an active CES device group. Because the personal impact of living with RLS has not been explored fully in the published literature, a third aim is (3) to describe the experience of individuals coping with the chronic symptoms of RLS and the impact of this disorder on their quality of life.  Measurements of RLS symptom severity and quality of life will be collected over a period of 8 weeks and group differences over time will be analyzed using mixed linear models. Qualitative interview data will be analyzed using descriptive phenomenological methods. Findings from this study will inform the design and implementation of a larger study to establish the effectiveness of CES on RLS symptoms. Qualitive findings will provide much needed information on the priorities for future research and clinical management based on patients' perspectives. The ultimate goal of the research is to identify and to evaluate the comparative effectiveness of non-pharmacological treatments for RLS symptom management.