Periodic limb movements during sleep are a frequent finding in patients with Gilles de la Tourette's syndrome

J Neurol. 1997 Aug;244(8):521-6. doi: 10.1007/s004150050136.


Gilles de la Tourette's syndrome (GTS) and restless legs syndrome (RLS) are two different neurological disorders with common features such as involuntary movements. In both disorders a disturbance of the dopaminergic system has been considered among other possible mechanisms. Since periodic leg movements (PLMS) during sleep are the predominant objective finding in RLS, the aim of this study was to investigate sleep parameters in GTS patients with particular emphasis on PLMS. Seven drug-free patients with GTS and seven age- and sex-matched healthy controls were studied polysomnographically, including superficial electromyogram (EMG) leads on all four extremities. A high number of PLMS were found in five of seven, and periodic arm movements in four of seven GTS patients. Total sleep time was significantly lower (P < 0.05) in the GTS patients than in the controls, which confirms earlier findings. The presence of PLMS in GTS might point towards evidence for a pathophysiological relationship between GTS and RLS, which, however, is not supported by the different responses to pharmacological treatments.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Electromyography
  • Extremities / physiopathology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Movement / physiology*
  • Periodicity*
  • Polysomnography
  • Reference Values
  • Sleep / physiology*
  • Sleep Stages / physiology
  • Tourette Syndrome / physiopathology*