Taking a Look at Guillain-Barre Syndrome

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In 1834, a physician by the name of James Wardrop had a male patient that showed symptoms of numbness and loss of muscle strength. After ten days, all of his strength was depleted except the ability to move his head and toes. After treatment of purging, the 35-year-old man began to get his strength back and went on the live a normal healthy life. Another incidence in 1837 involving a neurologist named Oliver had two patients with similar symptoms. They both experienced an acute paralysis. The first patient died only two days after giving birth to her son. Her autopsies showed nothing out of the ordinary, however her peripheral nerves were never examined. Oliver’s second patient, showed severe weakness of the muscles and the limbs and miraculously recovered spontaneously. Both Oliver and Wardrop’s cases were diagnosed as Poliomyelitis, which is another disorder that show similar symptoms to Guillain-Barre syndrome. In 1916, three neurologists, Guillain, Barre, and Strohl, discovered microalbuminosis, which is an increase in protein levels, in the cerebral spinal fluid, without an increase in white blood cells, which was a common finding in Poliomyelitis. The proteins in the cerebral spinal fluid was the hallmark that led to the discovery of Guillain-Barre syndrome. And so, the disease was named after the two neurologists Guillain and Barre. Guillain-Barre Syndrome is a peripheral neuropathy that causes degradation to the peripheral nervous system. The central nervous system is made up of the brain and the spinal chord. The nerves that extend outward reaching the head, trunk, and limbs is referred to as the peripheral nervous system. The peripheral nerves contain fibers, which transmit electrical signals to the brain allowing the b... ... middle of paper ... ... non-specific antibodies of the donor blood. The theory is that the non-specific antigens should bind to the specific antimyelin antibodies and attack the nerves, which will eventually neutralize them. Corticosteroids including cortisone and prednisone, were the first treatment of Guillain-Barre syndrome. Soon after the treatment was given it was proven to be ineffective in treating the disorder. Scientists have been trying to develop future therapeutic treatments that involve the administration of a trophic factor called brain-derived neurotrophic factor. Trophic factors enhance nerve regeneration in animals. However in recent studies it has proven ineffectiveness in treating patients. After the trophic factors, there has been no new discoveries of treatments. However, physicians have made an effort to diagnose the disease much earlier to ensure a full recovery.

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