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Understanding of Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS) has progressed substantially since the seminal 1916 report by Guillain et al. Although Guillain, Barré, and Strohl summarised the syndrome based on observations of two French infantrymen, 2012 saw the beginning of an ambitious collaborative study designed to collect detailed data from at least 1,000 patients worldwide (IGOS, Progress has been made in many areas even since GBS was last reviewed in this journal in 2009. GBS subsequently received prominent attention in light of concerns regarding H1N1 influenza vaccinations, and several large-scale surveillance studies resulted. Despite these developments, and promising pre-clinical studies, disease-modifying therapies for GBS have not substantially altered since intravenous immunoglobulin was introduced over 20 years ago. In other areas, management has improved. Antibiotic prophylaxis in ventilated patients reduces respiratory tract infection, thromboprophylaxis has reduced the risk of venous thromboembolism, and there is increasing awareness of the benefit of high-intensity rehabilitation. This article highlights some of the interesting and thought-provoking developments of the last 3 years, and is based on a plenary lecture given at the 2012 Peripheral Nerve Society (PNS) meeting.

Original publication




Journal article


J Peripher Nerv Syst

Publication Date





99 - 112


Guillain-Barre Syndrome, Humans