This review focuses on the possible association between restless legs syndrome (RLS) and movement disorders, including Parkinson disease (PD), other parkinsonian syndromes, essential tremor, choreic and dystonic syndromes, Tourette syndrome, and heredodegenerative ataxias.


Review of PubMed from 1966 to September 2018 and identification of references of interest for the topic. A meta-analysis of eligible studies on the frequency of RLS in patients with PD and controls using Meta-DiSc1.1.1 software and using the PRISMA guidelines was performed.

Results and conclusions

Although there are substantial clinical, neuroimaging, neuropathologic, and genetic differences between RLS and PD, many reports describe a higher than expected prevalence of RLS in patients with PD, when compared with the general population or with matched control groups; several studies have also suggested that RLS could be an early clinical feature of PD. RLS symptoms are frequent in multiple system atrophy, essential tremor, Tourette syndrome, Friedreich ataxia, and spinocerebellar ataxia type 3 as well. Finally, possible genetic links between PD and RLS (the presence of allele 2 of the complex microsatellite repeat Rep1 within the α-synuclein gene promoter) and between Tourette syndrome and RLS (several variants in the BTBD9 gene) have been reported in 2 case–control association studies, although these data, based on preliminary data with small sample sizes, need to be replicated in further studies.

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