Guillain-Barrè Syndrome (GBS)

Overview

GBS occurs when the immune system attacks part of the nerves in the peripheral nervous system. Though the condition can range from mild to severe, most people who develop GBS recover within 6 months to 2 years after the disease reaches its most severe state. 

There are several forms of GBS including:

  • Acute Inflammatory Demyelinating Polyradiculoneuropathy (AIDP)
  • Miller Fisher syndrome (MFS)
  • Acute motor axonal neuropathy (AMAN)
  • Acute motor-sensory axonal neuropathy (AMSAN)

AIDP is the most common form of GBS and it predominantly affects the myelin (the substance which covers and protects nerves). MFS is a less severe variant of GBS affecting the eye muscles and tendon reflexes. AMAN affects the axons of the nerves going to the muscles, while AMSAN affects the axons of both the motor and sensory nerves.

Common Symptoms

Numbness, tingling, weakness, and paralysis of the legs, arms, face, or breathing muscles, poor balance, double vision, and blurred vision.

Coexisting Conditions

At this point, researchers have yet to discover other conditions that coexist consistently with GBS, but this is a field of study that needs more attention.

Risk Factors

The most common risk factor for GBS is infection from the Campylobacter jejuni bacteria. Along with this bacterial infection, other infectious diseases such as Zika virus, Epstein-Barr virus, HIV, and Hepatitis (A,B,C,E) have been found to precede GBS. GBS also occurs more frequently in males and its incidence increases with age.

Sources

  1. Article Sources and Footnotes
    1. Nachamkin, I., Allos, B. M., & Ho, T. (1998). Campylobacter Species and Guillain-Barré Syndrome. Clinical Microbiology Reviews, 11(3), 555–567. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC88896/.

    2. Rodríguez, Y., Rojas, M., Pacheco, Y., Acosta-Ampudia, Y., Ramírez-Santana, C., Monsalve, D. M., Gershwin, M. E., & Anaya, J.-M. (2018). Guillain–Barré syndrome, transverse myelitis and infectious diseases. Cellular and Molecular Immunology, 15(6), 547–562. https://doi.org/10.1038/cmi.2017.142.

    3. Sejvar, J. J., Baughman, A. L., Wise, M., & Morgan, O. W. (2011). Population Incidence of Guillain-Barré Syndrome: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Neuroepidemiology, 36(2), 123–133. https://doi.org/10.1159/000324710.

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