Back to Journals » Research and Reviews in Parkinsonism » Volume 3

A pilot study to evaluate simulated driving performance and cognitive function in healthy subjects and patients with restless legs syndrome

Authors Chen D, Shaw P, Canafax DM, Ware JC

Received 3 May 2013

Accepted for publication 11 June 2013

Published 3 October 2013 Volume 2013:3 Pages 53—62


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 2

Dan Chen,1 Paula Shaw,2 Daniel M Canafax,1,3 James Catesby Ware4

1XenoPort, Inc., Santa Clara, CA, USA; 2Charles River Northwest, Tacoma, WA, USA; 3Theravance Inc., South San Francisco, CA, USA; 4Division of Sleep Medicine, Eastern Virginia Medical School, Norfolk, VA, USA

Objective: Symptoms of restless legs syndrome (RLS) usually occur during the evening and night time, resulting in disrupted sleep and subsequent daytime fatigue. This study compared simulated driving performance, alertness, and cognitive function between healthy subjects and patients with a diagnosis of RLS.
Methods: Fifteen healthy subjects and 15 untreated RLS subjects were enrolled and completed two driving tests. The first test occurred at 4 PM followed by the second test at 8 AM the next morning. Outcome measures included lane position variability (LPV), speed variability, frequency of simulated crashes (off-road events or collision), and brake reaction time. Other assessments included visual analog scale (VAS) of alertness and the Brief Assessment of Cognition (BAC).
Results: Overall, RLS patients and healthy subjects performed similarly on driving assessments. Two subjects within each group experienced off-road events. RLS patients had less alertness on the VAS than healthy subjects before and after driving assessments. Both groups scored similarly on the cognitive function assessments.
Conclusion: Despite reported diminished alertness, RLS patients did not demonstrate impairment in driving or cognitive performance.

Keywords: restless legs syndrome, simulated driving performance, cognitive function

Creative Commons License © 2013 The Author(s). This work is published and licensed by Dove Medical Press Limited. The full terms of this license are available at and incorporate the Creative Commons Attribution - Non Commercial (unported, v3.0) License. By accessing the work you hereby accept the Terms. Non-commercial uses of the work are permitted without any further permission from Dove Medical Press Limited, provided the work is properly attributed. For permission for commercial use of this work, please see paragraphs 4.2 and 5 of our Terms.