Guillain-Barré Syndrome

Meaghan Walters

What is Guillain-Barré syndrome?

Guillain-Barre syndrome is a serious neurological disorder that occurs when the body's defense (immune) system mistakenly attacks part of the nervous system. This leads to nerve inflammation that causes muscle weakness and other symptoms.

What causes this?

No one yet knows why Guillain-Barré, strikes some people and not others, nor what causes it to happen. What scientists do know is that the body's immune system begins to attack the body itself, causing what is known as an autoimmune disease. As it destroys the nerve signals, the muscles begin to stop responding to the brain's commands.

Signs and Symptoms

The signs and symptoms of the syndrome can be quite varied, so doctors may find it difficult to diagnose Guillain-Barré in its earliest stages. Several disorders have symptoms similar to those found in Guillain-Barré. Losing sensation on both sides of the body and an inability to feel textures, heat, pain, and other sensations as well as weakness, numbness, and tingling. This can eventually lead to paralysis.

Tests and Diagnosis

Many doctors will preform spinal taps and a nerve conduction velocity test to help shock the nerves in which the sensations have been lost.

Are there any treatments?

There is no known cure for Guillain-Barré syndrome. Although, there are therapies that lessen the severity of the illness. There are also ways to treat the different complications of this disease. Plasma exchange (also called plasmapheresis) and high-dose immunoglobulin therapy are used. Both of them are equally effective, but immunoglobulin is easier to administer.

Here are the stats

There are approximately 6 to 40 cases of Guillain-Barré syndrome per 1 million people. AIDP is the most common type in North America and Europe, making up approximately 90 percent of cases of Guillain-Barré syndrome in these regions.


  1. What can be a result of Guillain-Barré syndrome?
  2. Are there tests that can help determine this syndrome?