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Line up of experts to address GBS national conference

Line up of experts to address GBS national conference

The seventh national conference organised by the Guillain-Barré Syndrome Support Group of New Zealand will be held from 8 to 10 May 2015 at the Sudima Hotel in Rotorua.

Guillain-Barré Syndrome (GBS) is a rare autoimmune disorder, where the body’s own immune system turns on itself and attacks the peripheral nervous system causing temporary muscle weakness, sometimes to the point of severe paralysis, sensory loss and pain. Often triggered by a preceding illness such as campylobactor, GBS has an incidence of 1-2 people per 100,000 or about 40-80 New Zealanders a year. CIDP is a chronic or ongoing neuropathy that closely resembles GBS.

An interesting programme has been arranged for the conference including presentations from six members of the GBS NZ Medical Advisory Board.

Auckland City Hospital neurologist Dr Dean Kilfoyle will present on What’s new with GBS, Waikato Hospital neurologist and neurophysiologist Dr Chris Lynch will tackle the topic of pain and Dr Suzie Mudge, senior lecturer and researcher in the Health and Rehabilitation Research Institute, AUT University, will talk about fatigue. ICU consultant Dr Annette Forrest will draw on her experience of GBS in the ICU for her session.

Auckland DHB Senior physiotherapist – neuro services Kathryn Quick will also cover the role of physical therapy in ICU and clinical psychologist Penny Sender will take a lead a discussion on the psychological impact of GBS on both patients and their families.

The biennial conference is for people and their supporters with Guillain-Barré Syndrome (GBS) and its variants such as Miller-Fisher Syndrome, acute motor axonal neuropathy (AMAN) and others as well as patients with chronic disorders such as Chronic Inflammatory Demyelinating Polyneuropathy (CIDP) and related disorders.

The 2015 GBS/CIDP conference is open to current and former GBS/CIDP patients, and their families and caregivers. It will also appeal to neurologists, physiotherapists, occupational therapists, nurses and general practitioners. The conference will be officially opened by Rotorua Mayor Steve Chadwick, who is the Patron of GBS New Zealand and whose sister is a GBS patient in Australia.

There will also be presentations by former patients, a panel discussion with Q & A time, a hospital visitors’ training workshop, group discussion sessions and the AGM for the support group.

For more information or to register visit the GBS NZ Support Group’s website at


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