What is Korsakoff Syndrome?

October 13, 2023
September 22, 2023
Posted by
Bre'anna Wilson
September 22, 2023
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Korsakoff Syndrome

caused by excessive alcohol consumption and/or significant vitamin B1 deficiency.


Most people don't know that excessive alcohol consumption is not the only way a person can develop Korsakoff Syndrome.


It can also be associated with metastatic cancers, chemotherapy, AIDS, chronic infection, eating disorders, dialysis, weight-loss surgery, etc — anything that can cause a severe deficiency in vitamin B1 (thiamine).


It's really a nutrition problem — the body is not able to properly absorb the nutrition it needs for the brain to function properly. This means, for example, that not all heavy drinkers will develop Korsakoff Syndrome, but they are at an increased risk.


Common symptoms include:

  • memory loss
  • confabulation (making things up to fill in gaps in memory)
  • visual or auditory hallucination
  • anosognosia (lack of insight into deficits)
  • personality changes


Korsakoff's syndrome is often preceded by Wernicke encephalopathy, but not always.


Wernicke encephalopathy is as you may have guessed also caused by a severe lack of thiamine that causes an acute brain reaction and it can actually develop very suddenly and is considered a medical emergency. If left untreated it can either result in death or progress to Korsakoff syndrome.


Common symptoms include:

  • confusion
  • jerky eye movements
  • double vision
  • difficulty coordinating voluntary movement
  • decreased balance or inability to walk


To learn more about Korsakoff Syndrome visit:

https://www.alz.org/media/Documents/alzheimers-dementia-korsakoff-syndrome-ts.pdf

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