Pre-GBS conditioning & GBS ambulatory status

    • Anonymous
      January 22, 2014 at 1:01 am

      I was wondering if anyone knows of studies that look at the correlation between pre-GBS physical conditioning or relative strength, and post-GBS recovery times and ambulatory status during GBS. I doubt that anything like this has been studied, but I figured it wouldn’t hurt to ask.
      Basically, I’d like to know if maintaing the ability to walk, or having a fast recovery, is pure luck. Or, could pre-GBS physical conditioning and strength be indicative of post-GBS recovery?

    • January 22, 2014 at 3:38 am

      I had been a semi-professional tennis player and was in very good physical condition pre-GBS. GBS took me to being a quadriplegic in 10 days. That was in 2008. I was subsequently diagnosed with CIDP/MFS in 2009 and I am still wheelchair bound today. I don’t think physical conditioning pre-GBS has much to do with post-GBS recovery.

      The disease attacks the fatty insulation (Myelin) that surrounds the nerve fibers (Axons). Without the insulation the nerve signals simply short out before reaching the muscles. The muscles themselves are still there in whatever condition they were pre-GBS. The muscles begin to weaken as we are no longer able to exercise them. In my case my legs and feet atrophied.

      One of the keys to a better post-GBS recovery is how much Myelin damage was done. The body can rebuild Myelin at the rate of 1 millimeter a day, which is only 0.0032808 ft, this is extremely slow but there has been little that can be done to speed up the process. I don’t think physical conditioning has much to do with Myelin growth.

      Getting early treatment for GBS is the best way to get a better and faster recovery. If you are lucky enough to have a mild form of GBS you will recover sooner and more thoroughly.

      Here is a survey you may find interesting:–fitness-levels.html

    • GH
      January 22, 2014 at 3:42 am

      Your hypothesis does not seem plausible to me. Physical conditioning builds muscle strength. Demyelinating neuropathies damage the sheath on the moter nerves and short out the signals. If the signal doesn’t get to the muscle, it doesn’t matter how strong the muscle is, it won’t work. It’s like shorting out the ignition on a “muscle” car. It won’t go.

    • Anonymous
      January 22, 2014 at 8:27 am

      Very useful answers, thank you. How much Myelin damage can be done in a single day? What factors affect this damage rate? Sorry if these are relatively basic questions. I’ll gladly read any sources of info you provide.

    • GH
      January 22, 2014 at 2:57 pm

      In some cases of GBS, total paralysis can develop in a couple of days. More typically, maximum loss of strength is reached in about four weeks. It is always less than eight weeks, or is considered to be another related neuropathy.

      There is variation in severity as well as timing. Not all GBS cases develop to total paralysis.

      A good overview of GBS is available in Guillain-Barré Syndrome (from diagnosis to recovery), by Parry and Steinberg.

    • January 22, 2014 at 8:48 pm

      From what I have read, the factors that influence damage are medically technical and have to do with lymphocytes in your blood stream. Separate specialized testing must be done to differentiate the three types present in your blood:

      B lymphocytes (B cells) are antibody-producing cells that are essential for acquired, antigen-specific immune responses. Fully mature B-cells are called plasma cells that produce antibodies, immune proteins that target and destroy bacteria, viruses and other “non-self” foreign antigens.

      T lymphocytes (T cells): Some T cells help the body distinguish between “self” and “non-self” antigens. Others initiate and control the extent of an immune response, boosting it as needed and then slowing it as the condition resolves. Other types of T cells directly attack and neutralize virus-infected or cancerous cells.

      Natural killer cells (NK cells) directly attack and kill abnormal cells such as cancer cells or those infected with a virus.

      Those of us with GBS have immune systems that produce abnormal lymphocytes at some rate. Rates vary by individual and I have not heard of any way to effectively predict that. In my case my immune response was quite strong and I became completely paralyzed in 10 days. Others report a much more gradual progression.

      Plasmapheresis (PE) will remove the GBS lymphocytes, but not stop your immune system from producing more. IVIg will stop your system from producing more, but do nothing to reduce what is already in your blood stream.

      Hope this info helps.