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Bickerstaff brainstem encephalitis: more common than we think?
  1. Satoshi Kuwabara,
  2. Sonoko Misawa,
  3. Masahiro Mori
  1. Department of Neurology, Graduate School of Medicine, Chiba University, Chiba, Japan
  1. Correspondence to Dr Satoshi Kuwabara, Department of Neurology, Graduate School of Medicine, Chiba University, 1-8-1 Inohana, Chuo-ku, Chiba 260-8670, Japan; kuwabara-s{at}

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Bickerstaff brainstem encephalitis (BBE) is characterised by the clinical triad of ophthalmoplegia, ataxia and consciousness disturbance, and the other features supportive of the diagnosis of BBE include antecedent infection, cerebrospinal fluid albuminocytological dissociation and the presence of serum IgG anti-GQ1b antibodies.1 The common clinical immunological profiles to BBE and Fisher syndrome (FS) strongly suggest that both conditions are part of the same spectrum of disease.

BBE is a rare disorder, and so far there is only one epidemiological study of BBE; a nationwide survey conducted in Japan has shown that the annual incidence of BBE is …

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  • Contributors SK, SM, and MM equally contributed to this paper.

  • Funding This work was supported in part by the Health and Labour Sciences Research Grant on Intractable Diseases (Neuroimmunological Diseases) from the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare of Japan (SK).

  • Competing interests None.

  • Provenance and peer review Commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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