- Guillain-Barre syndrome
- This disorder is characterized by progressive symmetrical paralysis and loss of reflexes, usually beginning in the legs, with in most cases nearly complete or complete recovery. The Guillain-Barre syndrome is not associated with fever (although the patient may have fever for other reasons). The paralysis characteristically involves more than one limb, most commonly the legs. The paralysis is progressive and usually ascending. There is areflexia (loss of reflexes) or hyporeflexia (diminution of reflexes) in the legs and arms. Other conditions that may mimic the Guillain- Barre syndrome need to be ruled out. Usually occurring after a respiratory infection, it is caused by a misdirected immune response that results in the direct destruction of the myelin sheath surrounding the peripheral nerves, or of the axon of the nerve itself. The syndrome sometimes follows other triggering events, including vaccinations. Among the vaccines reportedly associated with Guillain-Barre syndrome are the 1976-1977 swine flu vaccine, oral poliovirus vaccine, and tetanus toxoid. Aside from vaccinations, infection with the bacteria Campylobacter jejuni and viral infections can trigger Guillain-Barre syndrome. Other conditions that may mimic the Guillain-Barre syndrome need to be ruled out before diagnosis is made. Treatment is by plasmapheresis or intravenous gamma globulin (IGG). See also demyelination, Landry’s paralysis.
* * *Guil·lain-Bar·ré syndrome .gē-.lan-.bä-'rā-, .gē-yan- n a polyneuritis of unknown cause characterized esp. by muscle weakness and paralysis called also Landry's paralysisGuillain gē-yan Georges Charles (1876-1961), andBarré bä-rā Jean Alexander (1880-1967)French neurologists. Guillain published several significant neurological studies concerning the brain and the spinal column. An authority on the spinal column in particular, he made studies of the cerebrospinal fluid and the marrow of the spinal cord. Guillain and Barré published their description of the Guillain-Barré syndrome in 1916.
* * *a disease of the peripheral nerves in which there is numbness and weakness in the limbs. It usually develops 10-20 days after a respiratory or gastrointestinal infection (commonly with Campylobacter) that provokes an allergic response in the peripheral nerves. Involvement of the respiratory muscles may require mechanical ventilation. Recovery is usually excellent although often prolonged. Treatment with immunoglobulins (intravenous) or with plasma exchange may speed recovery and reduce long-term disability. See polyradiculitis.G. Guillain (1876-1961) and A. Barré (1880-1967), French neurologists
Medical dictionary. 2011.