Periodic leg movements during sleep and sleep disturbances in elders

Shawn D. Youngstedt, Daniel F. Kripke, Melville R. Klauber, Raul S. Sepulveda, William J. Mason

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

81 Scopus citations


Background. Periodic limb movements in sleep (PLMS) are an increasingly pervasive disturbance for aging adults. The aims of this experiment were: (a) to describe the index of periodic limb movements in sleep (myoclonus index [MI] in elderly subjects with complaints of poor sleep or depression (N = 22; 68 ± 5.5 SD years); and (b) to correlate MI with Sleep history, depression scores, and objective and subjective indices of sleep. Method. Sleep and leg movements were assessed for 5 consecutive nights. Between-subjects, nonparametric correlations were examined between mean MI and sleep history, depression scores, and objective and subjective sleep characteristics. Associations among within-subject night-to-night variabilities of MI, objective, and subjective variables were examined with repeated measures ANCOVA, entering MI as a covariate. Results. A remarkably high level of MI was found (median 25.8 events per hour; 86% of subjects > 5). Nevertheless, no associations were found between MI and sleep disturbance measures. Conclusion. These results extend previous reports that PLMS are remarkably persuasive in elderly volunteers and support other reports questioning whether there is a distinct PLMS syndrome.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)M391-M394
JournalJournals of Gerontology - Series A Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1998
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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