What is it?

Bickerstaff brainstem encephalitis is an autoimmune inflammatory condition of the central and peripheral nervous system. It resembles Miller Fisher syndrome, making it hard to diagnose sometimes. It could follow infection such as gastroenteritis or respiratory tract infection.

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Additional names

This group contains additional names:
- Bickerstaff's brainstem encephalitis

Signs & symptoms

Symptoms include ataxia (imbalance) and paralysis of eye movements. Other symptoms may include abnormalities of the pupils and absent reflexes.


Diagnosis is based upon findings from medical history and physical examination. Further evaluation may include blood tests for anti-GQ1b antibody, EEG, spinal tap, brain MRI and nerve conduction studies.


Treatment includes plasmapheresis and IVIG.

☝️ This is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Please consult with your physician before making any medical decision.

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