Korsakoff's Syndrome

(Cerebral Beriberi; Korsakoff's Amnesic Syndrome)


Korsakoff's syndrome is a group of symptoms that affect memory, usually in patients with alcoholism. It often occurs following Wernicke encephalopathy .
The Brain
Nucleus factsheet image
Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.


Korsakoff 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 Factors

Factors that increase your chance of developing Korsakoff's syndrome include:
  • Alcohol abuse
  • Malnutrition


Symptoms of Korsakoff syndrome may include:
  • Confusion
  • Memory problems
  • Learning difficulty
  • Communication problems
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Difficulty with walking and balance
The main symptom of Korsakoff's syndrome is severe memory problems. It is most obvious with recent events and new information. Often, people with this condition do not know the date or day. However, long-term memory and overall intelligence are not usually affected. To fill in the gaps in recent memory, patients tend to make up information that fits with the situation. This is called confabulation.


You 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.

leave comments
Did you like this? Share with your family and friends.
Related Topics:
Current Research From Top Journals

Water Before Meals May Promote Weight Loss
August 2015

A randomized trial found that drinking water before main meals led to higher weight loss than those who were asked to imagine a full stomach before main meals. Water preloading is believed to help create a feeling of fullness or satiety during the meal, which may help curb overeating.

dot separator
previous editions

Fecal Transplants Induce Ulcerative Colitis Remission
July 2015

Exercise Associated with Healthy Baby Weight
June 2015

Mindful Meditation May Reduce Symptoms and Complications of Insomnia
May 2015

dashed separator


Our Free Newsletter
click here to see all of our uplifting newsletters »