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Was it really beriberi?
  1. J Pritchard
  1. Consultant Neurologist, Neuromuscular Unit, Imperial College Healthcare NHS trust, Charing Cross Hospital, London W6 8RF, UK; Jane.pritchard2@imperial.nhs.uk

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    This case suggests that the Guillain–Barré syndrome (GBS) could have been mimicked by “dry beriberi” and that we should be aware of this confusion when we diagnose GBS. However, the argument in favour of beriberi is difficult to whole heartedly embrace for a number of reasons.

    The first peripheral neuropathy “alarm bell” is the reported pes cavus and hammer toes, suggesting that the patient had an underlying hereditary neuropathy. This could have explained the vague pre-existing sensory symptoms typical of these patients who may have few sensory symptoms. The neurophysiology results implied only patchy demyelination (compression of the right peroneal nerve at the fibula head but motor conduction otherwise normal) which does not suggest (demyelinating) Charcot–Marie–Tooth (CMT)1 …

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