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Barre-Lieou Syndrome

      Re: Barre-Lieou Syndrome

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Posted by CCF NEURO MD on May 14, 1997 at 18:42:26:

In Reply to: Barre-Lieou Syndrome posted by Anna Pearman on May 07, 1997 at 06:11:46:

: My colleague is believed to have this syndrome.  Do you have any further useful information.  She is getting the usual runaround by the medics who are not really interested.  She has the typical symptoms, vertigo, tinnitus, etc.  al due to neck trauma.
  Can you offer any suggestions.  She has now got an appointment for an MRI scan.  There is an Italian paper that suggests Clonidine treatment.  Do you know of any medics who have treated patients with this condition.
I had to familiarize myself with Barre-Lieou syndrome.  I was able to obtain information in medical articles from 1972- 1992, but none from the last five years.  It does not appear to be a common entity and I suspect based on the lack of information on this in the past five years, that it is not well recognized in the medical community or  has come under a different disease category. Barre-Lieou syndrome may result from neck injury of the whiplash type.  It is not uncommon for patients post trauma to develop symptoms such as vertigo, nystagmus (beating rhythm of the eyes), cervical muscle spasms and dysequilibrium.  Some have suggested there is irritation of cervical nerve roots with irritation of the sympathetic system.   Others have suggested a vascular origen from the vertebral arteries.  Arthritis is a coexisting factor.  However, many wonder if this syndrome exists.  Most would now label this as post whiplash syndrome.  It is likely that your friend has some cervical arthritis and getting a MRI is reasonable.  The treatment is difficult with these patients.  Analgesics such as nonsteroidal antiinflammatories (ibuprophen for example), tricyclic antidepressants (ie amitriptyline) muscle relaxants, among other medications that are usually used to treat migraine or tension type headaches may be useful.  If your friend has not seen a neurologist, I would recommend one, especially someone who deals with headaches, cervical pain or chronic pain.  An ear nose and throat doctor may also be beneficial.  I wish your friend good luck, these are difficult cases but not infrequent.  

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