Monday, October 24, 2011

RLS Research

The Restless Legs Syndrome Foundation is a non-profit organization providing the latest information about RLS. The goals of the Foundation are to increase awareness, improve treatments, and through research, find a cure for RLS, a condition which severely affects the lives of millions of individuals.

Many understand that the above goals are the cornerstone of the RLS Foundation. Many and more have benefited from what has been achieved so far. There is increased awareness, even if it isn't always positive. The FDA has now approved three medications for RLS/WED that weren't there just a few years ago. Research is ongoing for better and more medications. Even better, research is happening that might someday lead to a cure.

Facebook has been full of posts lately that have been negative about current research that links RLS/WED to high blood pressure. "We already knew that." "It was wasted money." "Why didn't they research something more important?" Good comments and valid questions. Who knows what the reasoning was behind granting the funds for the research? I've seen many cases of research money spent that seemed to be redundant or just plain silly. Maybe there was more to this than we understand. Maybe not.

Such is not the case for the RLS/WED Foundation. Since 1997 and the inception of the grant program, the RLS Foundation has honored promising scientists whose work addresses the goals of the Foundation. The RLS Foundation encourages grant applications for basic and clinical research studies of restless legs syndrome (RLS). Basic science leading to a better understanding of RLS, innovative approaches, interdisciplinary studies, and support of promising postdoctoral candidates is given funding priority. Since 1997, the RLS Foundation has funded 38 research grants for a total of $1.4 million.

These grants have been for research in the areas of genetics, iron regulation, neurophysiology (the nervous system), epidemiology (a branch of medical science that deals with the incidence, distribution, and control of disease in a population), and dopamine.

The Foundation can and does choose which research grants sound the most promising. Since RLS research money is very limited, these are all small grants used to stimulate interest and provide data for larger grants at either the National Institute of Health or the Canada Institute of Health Research. So far, these grant recipients have published 23 papers and three book chapters with an additional six manuscripts and two book chapters in process.

Unless you are an extremely rich philanthropist, most of us cannot fund research. However, your donation of any amount to the RLS/WED Foundation can be earmarked by you to go only to research. So if you are unhappy about what you read online, make a donation to the Foundation. Every dollar spent on research brings us that much closer to a cure.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

What Will You Be For Halloween?

October. Fall. Colored leaves falling to the ground. Pumpkins, cider, harvest moon, hay all adds up to my favorite time of year. I love the cool days and cooler nights. I love to snuggle under blankets at night; I love to sleep and sleep and sleep. Wait a minute; something in this just is not tracking. (Fall, leaves, pumpkins, snuggle, sleep...) That's it! Sleep! I never get enough sleep!

Despite the lack of sleep, I do love this time of year. There's just a different feeling in the air that doesn't come from cooler weather or falling leaves. For me, it all stems from my childhood. When I was growing up, October was full of excitement all month long. Halloween costumes were in the making--no purchased masks for us! We drew pictures of costumes, begged and borrowed clothes, raided Mom's makeup bag and Dad's shoe closet. At various times I was a princess, a bum, a ghost and a fairy. The Halloween costume that stands out in my mind the most though was Blackbeard, the Pirate.

Dad shredded the bottoms of a pair of my jeans (much to my Mom's dismay!) and made me a really cool pirate sword out of cardboard and aluminum foil. I had an eye patch and a bandana around my head but the best part was the black makeup Dad used to make it look like I had a beard. Which was also the part that made it all so memorable. It didn't wash off. I don't know what he used but I went around for days with blonde pigtails and a five o'clock shadow.

This isn't my normal blog about RLS; I just wasn't in the mood. Halloween is almost here and hopefully you can feel the same shivering excitement in the world around you as I do. Life is too short to let RLS control everything, all the time. Have fun! Since we're up most of the night anyway, go trick-or-treating! Tomorrow we may be sleep-walking zombies but if we are, let's just it make part of our Halloween costume.

Moon and Stars,