is an acute illness which is caused by inflammation of peripheral nerves
leading to loss of ensation, muscle weakness and, in more serious cases,
complete paralysis and breathing difficulty. In almost eighty per cent
of children these symptoms follow a
recent illness (usually
viral). This infection is thought to trigger a faulty response in the
The disease varies in
speed of onset with children reaching their maximal disability over a
matter of days or, much more gradually over a period of up to four
weeks. Initial symptoms consist of tingling, numbness, unsteadiness and
progressive weakness usually affecting the feet and then the hands and
gradually progressing up the limbs.
At the height of their illness
about a quarter of children remain able to walk but the
other three quarters loose their mobility and about sixteen
per cent need to be artificially ventilated on an intensive
The diagnosis of Guillain-Barr syndrome is confirmed with a
combination of lumbar puncture, where a high protein content
is demonstrated in the cerebrospinal fluid and nerve
conduction studies, which show slowing of nerve conduction
in the nerve roots and/or peripheral nerves.
Recovery usually begins in two to three weeks and may be
accompanied by pain and tingling in the limbs. Most children
are able to walk unaided by six weeks and most are free from
symptoms by about three months. Minorities of patients have
some residual problems but these children are usually still
able to walk unaided. The condition can occur at any age but
there appear to be peak ages of onset in childhood at four
years and twelve years. In general children make a much
better recovery than adults.
In Guillain-Barr syndrome the body's immune system attacks
part of the peripheral nervous system. Usually Guillain-Barr
occurs a few days or weeks after the patient has had
symptoms of a respiratory or gastrointestinal viral
infection. The body's immune system begins to attack the
body itself, causing what is known as an autoimmune disease.
Currently, plasmapheresis and high-dose immunoglobulin
therapy are used. Plasmapheresis seems to reduce the
severity and duration of the Guillain-Barr episode. In
high-dose immunoglobulin therapy, doctors give intravenous
injections of the proteins that in small quantities, the
immune system uses naturally to attack invading organism.
Axonal degeneration occurs, and recovery depends on axonal
regeneration. In severe cases, recovery becomes much slower,
and there is a greater degree of residual damage. Recent
studies on the disease have demonstrated that approximately
80% of the patients have myline loss, whereas, in the
remaining 20%, there is axon loss.
Role of homoeopathy:
It has been clinically observed that homoeopathy helps cases
of GB Syndrome. It seems to help by correcting the altered
immune system. The medicines are very effective in treating
the residual symptoms of Guillain-Barr syndrome. Muscle
weakness and power in the limbs can be corrected.
In the acute stage, in cases of danger of respiratory
paralysis, allopathic medicines have an advantage, but for
the residual neuro-muscular symptoms, Homoeopathic medicines
are highly effective and strongly recommended.