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November 24, 1945


JAMA. 1945;129(13):875-876. doi:10.1001/jama.1945.02860470035013

Axel Ekbom1 reports a "hitherto virtually unknown disease which, because of its prevalence and the torment it causes in severe cases, is of great practical importance." The symptoms seem to be purely subjective and consist of peculiar paresthesias, a feeling of weakness in the legs and a sensation of cold in the feet. The paresthesias are the most characteristic signs of the disease and are therefore important for the diagnosis. They are experienced over the inner aspect of the legs, sometimes in the thighs but rarely in the feet. The arms may be involved. The patients have difficulty in clearly defining this sensation and refer to it most frequently as "crawling." Characteristically, the sensation develops only when the legs are still, most often after the patient retires for the night. For relief the patients move their legs continually or get up and walk about. Their sleep may be disturbed