Korsakoff's Sydrome

WEEKLY COMMUNICATOR (300 x 100 px) (200 × 100 px) (1)

FACTS

  • A chronic memory disorder caused by lack of thiamine, also called Vitamin B1
  • May occur after Wernicke’s encephalopathy – a severe lack of thiamine which generally requires hospitalization
  • Slow and usually incomplete improvement in memory function

SYMPTOMS

  • Mental confusion, amnesia, confusion, and disorientation
  • Vision impairment
  • Difficulty learning new information, establishing new memories, and recalling previous memories
  • Confabulation – making up things that can’t be remembered
  • May have an entire coherent conversation then completely forget that it happened

RISK FACTORS

  • Alcohol abuse
  • Deficiencies related to poor diet
  • Prolonged vomiting
  • Chronic infection
  • Kidney dialysis
  • Recent surgery for obesity
  • Widespread cancer in the body
  • AIDS

DIAGNOSIS

  • Assessment through review of medical history and medications, observations during the appointment, and interviews with family or close friends
  • Physical and neurological exam, including memory test and depression screen
  • Lab studies, including blood count and glucose, thyroid, Vitamin B12, Vitamin D, and thiamine levels
  • A possible CT scan of the head or an MRI of the brain

TREATMENT

  • Thiamine replacement
  • Adequate nutrition and hydration

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