Overview
Resources
Symptoms
Other names
Causes

Wernicke-Korsakoff Syndrome is a memory disorder due to a deficiency in thiamine (Vitamin B-1). It is often caused by excessive alcohol use.

Wernicke-Korsakoff Syndrome Symptoms

Wernicke Encephalopathy: is an acute medical emergency that is the precursor to Korsakoff syndrome. Wernicke encephalopathy is a life threatening brain disruption with symptoms of:

  • Confusion,
  • Staggering,
  • Stumbling,
  • Lack of coordination,
  • Abnormal involuntary eye movements.

Chronic memory loss of Korsakoff follows the Wernicke encephalopathy episode. Korsakoff syndrome causes people to:

  • Not be able to remember recent events,
  • Have long term memory gaps,
  • Have problems learning new information.
  • These individuals may often make up information they can’t remember.

Other names

Wernicke Encephalopathy

Korsakoff Syndrome

Causes of Wernicke-Korsakoff Syndrome

Alcohol misuse is the most common cause of Wernicke-Korsakoff Syndrome. According to the Alzheimer’s association, “Thiamine deficiency disrupts several biochemicals that play key roles in carrying signals among brain cells and in storing and retrieving memories.”