UTHealth named quality care center for restless legs syndrome
The University of Texas Health
Science Center at Houston (UTHealth) is just the third institution in the
country designated as a Willis-Ekbom Disease (WED)/Restless Legs Syndrome Foundation
Quality Care Center.
WED, also known as restless legs syndrome (RLS), affects
7 to 10 percent of the U.S. population. The designation recognizes UTHealth as
a specialty center in treating WED/RLS patients with a range of complexities
WilliamOndo,M.D., professor of neurology at the UTHealth Medical School, is the director of
the new center and serves on the Medical Advisory Board of the WED Foundation. He
is also a neurologist with the Mischer Neuroscience Institute at Memorial
Hermann-Texas Medical Center.
“RLS has always been a disease bridging different
traditional specialties, variably treated by primary care physicians, neurologists,
sleep experts or psychiatrists,” said Ondo, a movement disorder neurologist who
has researched the syndrome. “Having a comprehensive place to incorporate all
the aspects of treatment is important, especially in the most severe cases.”
According to the WED Foundation, WED/RLS is a common and
treatable neurologic disorder that results in an irresistible urge to move the
legs or other parts of the body, often accompanied by unusual or unpleasant
sensations that may be described as creeping, tugging or pulling. Symptoms most
often occur in the evening and can severely disrupt sleep and reduce quality of
“It’s brought on by physical and mental inactivity and
may improve while a person is physically moving or with intense concentration.
Unfortunately, those activities aren’t conducive to sleep afterward,” Ondo
said. “Sleep deprivation results in worse symptoms and it just spirals
Four drugs have been approved by the Food and Drug
Administration for the treatment of WED/RLS. Iron deficiency, pregnancy, kidney
failure, prescription or over-the-counter medications, alcohol and antihistamines
can sometimes cause symptoms of the syndrome.
“Nobody with WED/RLS should have a reduced quality of
life,” says WED Foundation Executive Director Georgianna Bell. “This disease can be effectively managed over
time, and we aim to work with clinicians to fulfill this expectation.”
To contact UTHealth’s WED/RLS Quality Care Clinic, please call (832) 325-7080.