Christopher J Earley, M.B.B.Ch., Ph.D.

Headshot of Christopher J Earley
  • Professor of Neurology


Circadian Rhythm Disorders, Insomnia, Narcolepsy, Neurology, Restless Legs Syndrome, Sleep Apnea, Sleep Disorders, Sleep Medicine more

Research Interests

Restless Legs Syndrome; Sleep

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Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center

Appointment Phone: 410-550-0571
5501 Hopkins Bayview Circle
Asthma and Allergy Center 1B-82
Baltimore, MD 21224 map
Phone: 410-550-0571 | Fax: 410-367-2710


Dr. Christopher Earley's research and clinical interests are devoted to Sleep Medicine with a special interest in Restless Legs Syndrome. His current research is focused on understanding the pathophysiology of Restless Legs Syndrome and further elucidating the value of various treatments in this syndrome.

Dr. Earley received his medical degree as well as a PhD in Pharmacology from the University College in Galway, Ireland. He completed a full residency in Internal Medicine at Baylor Medical College and then went to the University of Virginia in Charlottesville to complete his residency in Neurology. After then spending a year at the NIH as a fellow in the Neurobiology Unit, Dr. Earley joined the faculty at Johns Hopkins in 1991.

2008 Professor, Department of Neurology, Johns Hopkins
1994- Associate Director, Sleep Disorders Center, JHBMC
Education and Training:
1973 - B.S. (General), Villanova University
1974 - B.A. (Psychology), Arizona State University
1978 - Ph.D. (Pharmacology), National University of Ireland
1983 - M.B., B.Ch. ( Medicine), National University of Ireland
1983-1984 Internship, University Hospital, Galway, Ireland
1984-1987 Resident in Internal Medicine, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, TX
1987-1990 Resident in Neurology, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA
1990-1991 Senior Staff Fellow, Neurobiology Unit, NIH/NIA
Professional Experience:
1991- Full-time Staff Neurologist, Johns Hopkins
1992-1999 Assistant Professor, Department of Neurology, Johns Hopkins
1993-2001 Director, Acute Stroke Service,
1994- Associate Director, Sleep Disorders Center
1994-1999 Co-Director, Neurosciences Critical Care Unit
1996-2000 Director, Neurovascular Ultrasound Lab
1999-2008 Associate Professor, Department of Neurology, Johns Hopkins more


  • Professor of Neurology

Departments / Divisions

Centers & Institutes



  • MBBCh PhD; University College Hospital (1983)


  • Internal Medicine; Baylor College of Medicine (1987)
  • Neurology; University of Virginia School of Medicine (1990)


  • National Institutes of Health (1991)

Board Certifications

  • American Board of Internal Medicine (Internal Medicine) (1987)
  • American Board of Psychiatry And Neurology (Neurology) (1993)
  • American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology (Sleep Medicine) (2009)

Research & Publications

Clinical Trial Keywords

Restless; Daytime Drowsiness; Restless Legs Syndrome

Selected Publications

1. Silver N, Allen RP, Senerth J, Earley CJ. A 10-year, longitudinal assessment of dopamine agonists and methadone in the treatment of restless legs syndrome. Sleep Medicine. 2011 12(5):440-4.

2. Winkelmann J, Czamara D, Schormair B, Knauf F, Schulte EC, Trenkwalder C, et al. Genome-Wide Association study identifies novel restless legs syndrome susceptibility loci on 2p14 and 16q12.1. PLoS Genet. 2011;7(7):e1002171.

3. Edwards RR, Quartana PJ, Allen RP, Greenbaum S, Earley CJ, Smith MT. Alterations in pain responses in treated and untreated patients with restless legs syndrome: Associations with sleep disruption. Sleep Medicine. 2011;12(6):603-9.

4. Earley CJ, Kuwabara H, Wong DF, Gamaldo C, Salas R, Brasic J, et al. The dopamine transporter is decreased in the striatum of subjects with restless legs syndrome. Sleep. 2011;34(3):341-7. PMCID: 3041710.

5. Connor JR, Ponnuru P, Wang X-S, Patton SM, Allen RP, Earley CJ. Profile of altered brain iron acquisition in restless legs syndrome. Brain. 2011;134(4):959-68. PMCID: 3069701.

6. Connor JR, Ponnuru P, Lee B-Y, Podskalny GD, Alam S, Allen RP, et al. Postmortem and imaging based analyses reveal CNS decreased myelination in restless legs syndrome. Sleep Medicine. 2011;12(6):614-19.

7. Quiroz C, Pearson V, Gulyani S, Allen R, Earley C, Ferre S. Up-regulation of striatal adenosine A(2A) receptors with iron deficiency in rats: effects on locomotion and cortico-striatal neurotransmission. Exp Neurol. 2010;224(1):292-8. PMCID: 2885550.

8. Pantaleo NP, Hening WA, Allen RP, Earley CJ. Pregnancy accounts for most of the gender difference in prevalence of familial RLS. Sleep Med. 2010;11:310-3. PMCID: 2830334.

9. Earley CJ, Silber MH. Restless legs syndrome: Understanding its consequences and the need for better treatment. Sleep Medicine. 2010;11(9):807-15.

10. Xiong L, Catoire H, Dion P, Gaspar C, Lafreniere RG, Girard SL, et al. MEIS1 intronic risk haplotype associated with restless legs syndrome affects its mRNA and protein expression levels. Hum Mol Genet. 2009;18(6):1065-74. PMCID: 2722232.

11. Unger EL, Earley CJ, Beard JL. Diurnal cycle influences peripheral and brain iron levels in mice. J Appl Physiol. 2009;106:187-93. PMCID: 2636939.

12. Snyder AM, Wang X, Patton SM, Arosio P, Levi S, Earley CJ, et al. Mitochondrial ferritin in the substantia nigra in restless legs syndrome. J Neuropathol Exp Neurol. 2009;68(11):1193-9. PMCID: 3024883.

13. Salas RE, Gamaldo CE, Allen RP, Earley CJ. Quiescegenic nocturnal dyskinesia: A restless legs syndrome (RLS) variant or a new syndrome? Sleep Med. 2009;10:396-7.

14. Hening WA, Allen RP, Washburn M, Lesage SR, Earley CJ. The four diagnostic criteria for Restless Legs Syndrome are unable to exclude confounding conditions ("mimics"). Sleep Medicine. 2009;10(9):976-81. PMCID: 2766267.

15. Gulyani S, Earley CJ, Camandola S, Maudsley S, Ferr S, Mughal MR, et al. Diminished iron concentrations increase adenosine A2A receptor levels in mouse striatum and cultured human neuroblastoma cells. Experimental Neurology. 2009;215(2):236-42. PMCID: 2784599.

16. Gamaldo C, Benbrook AR, Allen RP, Oguntimein O, Earley CJ. Evaluating daytime alertness in individuals with Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS) compared to sleep restricted controls. Sleep Medicine. 2009;10(1):134-8. PMCID: 2650846.

17. Earley CJ, Horska A, Mohamed MA, Barker PB, Beard JL, Allen RP. A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of intravenous iron sucrose in restless legs syndrome. Sleep Med. 2009;10(2):206-11. PMCID: 2703581.

18. Earley CJ, Allen RP, Connor JR, Ferrucci L, Troncoso J. The dopaminergic neurons of the A11 system in RLS autopsy brains appear normal. Sleep Med. 2009;10(10):1155-7. PMCID: 2783651.

19. Earley CJ. The importance of oral iron therapy in restless legs syndrome. Sleep Medicine. 2009;10(9):945-6.

20. Connor JR, Wang XS, Allen RP, Beard JL, Wiesinger JA, Felt BT, et al. Altered dopaminergic profile in the putamen and substantia nigra in restless leg syndrome. Brain. 2009;132(Sep):2403-12. PMCID: 2732265.

21. Hening WA, Allen RP, Washburn M, Lesage S, Earley CJ. Validation of the Hopkins telephone diagnostic interview for restless legs syndrome. Sleep Medicine. 2008;9(3):283-9.

22. Gamaldo CE, Benbrook AR, Allen RP, Oguntimein O, Earley CJ. A further evaluation of the cognitive deficits associated with restless legs syndrome (RLS). Sleep Medicine. 2008;9(5):500-5. PMCID: 2532669.

23. Earley CJ, Ponnuru P, Wang X, Patton SM, Conner JR, Beard JL, et al. Altered iron metabolism in lymphocytes from subjects with restless legs syndrome. Sleep. 2008;31(6):847-52. PMCID: 2442411.

24. Cho YW, Shin WC, Yun CH, Hong SB, Kim JH, Allen RP, et al. Epidemiology of restless legs syndrome in Korean adults. Sleep. 2008;31(2):219-23. PMCID: 2225579.

25. Gamaldo CE, Benbrook AR, Allen RP, Scott JA, Henning WA, Earley CJ. Childhood and adult factors associated with restless legs syndrome (RLS) diagnosis. Sleep Medicine. 2007;8(7-8):716-22.

26. Pearson VE, Allen RP, Dean T, Gamaldo CE, Lesage SR, Earley CJ. Cognitive deficits associated with restless legs syndrome (RLS). Sleep Med. 2006;7(1):25-30.

27. Earley CJ, Hyland K, Allen RP. Circadian changes in CSF dopaminergic measures in restless legs syndrome. Sleep Med. 2006;7(3):263-8.

28. Earley CJ, Barker PB, Horska A, Allen RP. MRI-determined regional brain iron concentrations in early- and late-onset restless legs syndrome. Sleep Med. 2006;7:458-61.

29. Earley CJ, Allen RP. Restless legs syndrome augmentation associated with tramadol. Sleep Med. 2006;7(7):592-3.

30. Earley CJ, Heckler D, Allen RP. Repeated IV doses of iron provides effective supplemental treatment of restless legs syndrome. Sleep Med. 2005;6(4):301-5.

31. Earley CJ, Connor JR, Beard JL, Clardy SL, Allen RP. Ferritin levels in the cerebrospinal fluid and restless legs syndrome: effects of different clinical phenotypes. Sleep. 2005;28(9):1069-75.

32. Earley CJ, Heckler D, Allen RP. The treatment of restless legs syndrome with intravenous iron dextran. Sleep Med. 2004;5(3):231-5.

33. Earley CJ. Clinical practice. Restless legs syndrome. N Engl J Med. 2003;348(21):2103-9.

34. Allen RP, La Buda MC, Becker P, Earley CJ. Family history study of the restless legs syndrome. Sleep Med. 2002;3(Suppl):S3-7.

35. Earley CJ, Hyland K, Allen RP. CSF dopamine, serotonin, and biopterin metabolites in patients with restless legs syndrome. Mov Disord. 2001;16(1):144-9.

36. Allen RP, Barker PB, Wehrl F, Song HK, Earley CJ. MRI measurement of brain iron in patients with restless legs syndrome. Neurology. 2001;56(2):263-5.

37. Earley CJ, Connor JR, Beard JL, Malecki EA, Epstein DK, Allen RP. Abnormalities in CSF concentrations of ferritin and transferrin in restless legs syndrome. Neurology. 2000;54(8):1698-700.

38. Earley CJ, Yaffee JB, Allen RP. Randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of pergolide in restless legs syndrome. Neurology. 1998;51(6):1599-602.

39. Allen RP, Earley CJ. Augmentation of the restless legs syndrome with carbidopa/levodopa. Sleep. 1996;19(3):205-13.

Activities & Honors


  • Sleep Science Award which is given in recognition of outstanding achievements in Sleep Science Research, AAN, 2007
  • Elected, Fellow, Royal College of Physician, Ireland (FRCP(I)) in recognition of my work in Restless Legs Syndrome, 2007


  • American Academy of Sleep Medicine, 1997
  • Medical Advisory Board of the Restless Legs Syndrome Foundation, 1995
  • Scientific Advisory Board of the Restless Legs Syndrome Foundation, 2007
  • Sleep Research Society, 2003
  • Society of Neuroscience, 2003
  • World Association of Sleep Medicine, 2005

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