Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Leg Jiggler Bewarers Beware

The Last Girl on Earth hopes the last man on earth isn't a "leg jiggler":

Don’t you just hate it when you go out to dinner at a fairly nice restaurant and they have long benches that you share with a couple of tables and you end up sitting next to a stranger who is a frigging LEG JIGGLER… and when you ask the guy nicely to kindly stop jiggling his leg, he stops for a few minutes, but then starts up again....

Needless to say, the Restless Legs Syndrome Foundation has a different view:

If you do have restless legs syndrome (RLS), you are not alone. Up to 10% of the U.S. population may have this neurologic condition. Many people have a mild form of the disorder, but RLS severely affects the lives of millions of individuals. In order for you to be officially diagnosed with RLS, you must meet the criteria described below:

1. You have a strong urge to move your legs which you may not be able to resist. The need to move is often accompanied by uncomfortable sensations. Some words used to describe these sensations include: "creeping", "itching", "pulling", "creepy-crawly", "tugging" or "gnawing".

2. Your RLS Symptoms start or become worse when you are resting. The longer you are resting, the greater the chance the symptoms will occur and the more severe they are likely to be.

3. Your RLS symptoms get better when you move your legs. The relief can be complete or only partial but generally starts very soon after starting an activity. Relief persists as long as the motor activity continues.

4. Your RLS symptoms are worse in the evening especially when you are lying down. Activities that bother you at night do not bother you during the day.

H. Gilbert Welch, Lisa Schwartz, and Steven Woloshin don't buy the hoopla:

The larger threat posed by American medicine is that more and more of us are being drawn into the system not because of an epidemic of disease, but because of an epidemic of diagnoses....

Most of us experience physical or emotional sensations we don’t like, and in the past, this was considered a part of life. Increasingly, however, such sensations are considered symptoms of disease. Everyday experiences like insomnia, sadness, twitchy legs and impaired sex drive now become diagnoses: sleep disorder, depression, restless leg syndrome and sexual dysfunction....

While these diagnoses may benefit the few with severe symptoms, one has to wonder about the effect on the many whose symptoms are mild, intermittent or transient.

Looks like one person's global warming is another person's...global warming. And it's all about money (that's what I want):

In 2003, GlaxoSmithKline launched a campaign to promote awareness about restless legs syndrome, beginning with press releases about presentations at the American Academy of Neurology meeting describing the early trial results of using ropinirole (a drug previously approved for Parkinson disease) for the treatment of restless legs. Two months later, GlaxoSmithKline issued a new press release entitled “New survey reveals common yet under recognized disorder—restless legs syndrome—is keeping Americans awake at night” about an internally funded and, at the time, unpublished study. In 2005, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved ropinirole for the treatment of restless legs syndrome (the first drug approved specifically for this indication). Since then, the restless legs campaign has developed into a multimillion dollar international effort to “push restless legs syndrome into the consciousness of doctors and consumers alike”.


Radio show host Rush Limbaugh, for example, has mocked it as a pseudoillness....

Which immediately convinces a significant segment of the population that it's a real illness.


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