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Dry beriberi mimicking the Guillain–Barré syndrome
  1. C Murphy,
  2. I H Bangash,
  3. A Varma
  1. 1
    Specialist Registrar in Neurology
  2. 2
    Consultant Neurophysiologist
  3. 3
    Consultant Neurologist
  4. 4
    Greater Manchester Neuroscience Centre, Salford Royal Hospital, Salford, UK
  1. C Murphy, Specialist Registrar in Neurology, Greater Manchester Neuroscience Centre, Salford Royal Hospital, Stott Lane, Salford M6 8HD, UK; drclmurphy{at}


A 44-year-old man is described with severe flaccid quadriparesis that evolved over 3 weeks. He had regularly binged on alcohol—up to 20 cans of beer per day with occasional consumption of spirits—for more than 15 years but had balanced this with regular food intake. However, for a week prior to the current episode he had not eaten anything of significance. Nerve conduction studies revealed a background peripheral, mainly sensory, neuropathy with a superimposed acute motor axonopathy. CSF was normal. He improved with high dose vitamin replacement and physiotherapy but remains dependent on a Zimmer frame for mobility and a splint for wrist drop.

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