(Cerebral Beriberi; Korsakoff's Amnesic Syndrome)
DefinitionKorsakoff's syndrome is a group of symptoms that affect memory, usually in patients with alcoholism. It often occurs following Wernicke encephalopathy .
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CausesKorsakoff syndrome is caused by a lack of vitamin B1 , also known as thiamine. This is also always associated with alcoholism, since a poor diet and alcohol can prevent the body from getting enough thiamine. Not everyone with alcoholism develops Korsakoff syndrome. A combination of genes and diet may play a role.
Risk FactorsFactors that increase your chance of developing Korsakoff's syndrome include:
- Alcohol abuse
SymptomsSymptoms of Korsakoff syndrome may include:
- Memory problems
- Learning difficulty
- Communication problems
- Difficulty concentrating
- Difficulty with walking and balance
DiagnosisYou will be asked about your symptoms and medical history. Your mental function will be assessed. Testing your ability to learn new information most likely will show if you have this condition. If you are an alcoholic and/or have had Wernicke's syndrome, Korsakoff's syndrome is seriously considered as the cause of your memory problem.
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