A Guide to Guillain-Barre Syndrome: History, Treatment, and Recent Medical Connections

 

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History
  • There is no known cause at this time, and GBS can affect anyone, at any age.
  • Approximately only 1 out of 100,000 people are diagnosed with GBS
  • The first symptom is typically weakness or “pins and needles” in the legs, followed by arms, which could turn into paralysis.
  • Difficulty with facial movements: including smiling, speaking, or eating
  • The body begins to attack itself and its nerves. This destruction makes it difficult for the brain to send messages to the muscles. Muscles become weak, making it difficult to complete daily activities
  • According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, GBS may be associated with the newly discovered Zika Virus
Study of History

A research study was completed with thirty seven clients in Australia over a ten year span to find and describe the cause of Guillain Barre Syndrome.

The results of the study were:

  • The average age of patients when diagnosed was 60 years old
  • Most of the patients needed to stay in the hospital at some point during treatment
  • High success rates with patients being able to walk and take care of themselves 6-12 months after being diagnosed
  • This video reviews the history of Guillain Barre Syndrome and is a good indication of the different aspect of life that can be affected from the disease.
Treatment

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Occupational and Physical Therapy– used to retrain and strengthen muscles, using exercise, muscle stimulation, and stretching.

Blood Exchange- blood is taken from the body and changed for new blood, which the body must work to replace, reducing the symptoms of GBS, and strengthens the muscles

IV Therapy- injections of proteins are given to the patient, which the body uses to fight against the illness.

Connection to Modern Health Issues

Zika Virus-

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A study was completed in Puerto Rico to look at the similarities between Zika Virus and how it relates to Guillain Barre Syndrome.

In this study:

  • Fifty six cases of Guillain Barre Syndrome were diagnosed between January and July of 2016
  • 61 percent of these patients showed evidence of Zika Virus.
  • According to this study in seven countries where Zika Virus is common there was an increase in cases of Guillain Barre Syndrome.
  • This study is a new idea that could lead to identifying a cure and find the similarities between GBS and Zika Virus.
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Pregnancy-
A case study was completed to see how Guillain Barre Syndrome can affect pregnancy.
  • The risk of GBS affecting pregnancy is very low.
  • In some pregnancies there can be birth defects of the baby
  • Muscle weakness can also occur with the mother, making delivery difficult.

 

Dirlikov, E., Major, C. G., Mayshack, M., Medina, N., Matos, D., Ryff, K. R., & … Sharp, T. M.   (2016). Guillain-Barré Syndrome During Ongoing Zika Virus Transmission
Puerto Rico, January 1–July 31, 2016. MMWR: Morbidity & Mortality Weekly Report, 65(34), 910-914.

Foster, E., Bonavia, L., Green, C., Butler, E., Tiruvoipati, R., & Subramaniam, A. (2016). A descriptive study of patients with Guillain-Barré syndrome: Experience from an Australian tertiary level hospital.  Australasian Medical Journal, 9(8), 280-289

Meenakshi-Sundaram, S., Swaminathan, K., Karthik, S. N., & Bharathi, S. (2014). Case Report. Relapsing Guillain-Barre syndrome in pregnancy and postpartum.
Annals Of Indian Academy Of Neurology, 17(3), 352-354.

One thought on “A Guide to Guillain-Barre Syndrome: History, Treatment, and Recent Medical Connections”

  1. I have never worked with anyone with GB, but have always found it to be an interesting topic. I most closely related it to Polio (I have had a couple of family members that contracted it before the vaccine was available). Interesting that it could potentially be connected to Zika Virus though. That research would be an interesting read.

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