The syndrome is muscle weakness where the immune system mistakenly turns on and damages parts of the body's peripheral nervous system. It can be life-threatening for a while in some people, with weakness of breathing muscles requiring mechanical ventilation. In most cases the condition eventually rights itself, at least partly, although leaving weakness. The syndrome was described in 1859 by French physician Jean-Baptiste Octave Landry. In 1916 French neurologists Georges Guillain and Jean Alexandre Barré together with French physician André Strohl described the key diagnostic abnormality.