Guillain-Barre syndrome. A man with Guillain-Barre syndrome receives respiratory therapy while in his hospital bed. A nurse holds a plastic tube in his mouth to assess his breathing. The smaller tube under his nose supplements his breathing with oxygen. Guillain-Barre syndrome is a rare disease of peripheral nerves. It causes weakness and numbness in the legs and arms, progressing to paralysis. In severe cases breath- ing, speech and swallowing are affected. The cause is thought to be an allergic reaction to a viral infection such as sore throat: affected nerves become inflamed by antibody activity. Most sufferers recover completely without drugs.
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