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Monday, October 24, 2011

Left-Handed People More Likely To Have Sleep Disorder

The presence of rhythmic limb movements when sleeping, which may vary in intensity, may be an indicator of periodic limb movement disorder (PLMD).

In a study of 100 patients with PMLD, presented at CHEST 2011, the 77th annual meeting of the American College of Chest Physicians (ACCP), researchers from Toledo, Ohio divided the patients into those who were right-handed and those who were left-handed.

Of the 84 right-handed and 16 left-handed patients, 69% of right-handed patients had bilateral limb movements compared with 94% of left-handed patients, irrespective of age, sex, and race.

Their findings indicate that left-handed people have significantly higher chances of having bilateral limb movements, indicating the potential for PLMD.

Periodic limb movement disorder (PLMD), previously known as nocturnal myoclonus, is a sleep disorder where the patient moves limbs involuntarily during sleep, and has symptoms or problems related to the movement.

PLMD should not be confused with restless leg syndrome (RLS). RLS occurs while awake as well as when asleep, and when awake, there is a voluntary response to an uncomfortable feeling in the legs. PLMD on the other hand is involuntary, and the patient is often unaware of these movements altogether.

Patients with PLMD will complain of excessive daytime sleepiness (EDS), falling asleep during the day, trouble falling asleep at night, and difficulty staying asleep throughout the night. Patients also display involuntary limb movements that occur at periodic intervals anywhere from 20–40 seconds apart. They often only last the first half of the night during non-REM sleep stages. Movements do not occur during REM because of muscle atonia.

Contacts and sources:
Sue Roberts
American College of Chest Physicians

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