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Wernicke-Korsakoff Syndrome

National Organization for Rare Disorders, Inc.

Important
It is possible that the main title of the report Wernicke-Korsakoff Syndrome is not the name you expected. Please check the synonyms listing to find the alternate name(s) and disorder subdivision(s) covered by this report.

Synonyms

  • Gayet-Wernicke Syndrome

Disorder Subdivisions

  • Psychosis Polyneurotica
  • Wernicke Disease
  • Wernicke Syndrome
  • Korsakoff Psychosis
  • Korsakoff Amnesic Syndrome
  • Korsakoff Syndrome
  • Wernicke Encephalopathy

General Discussion

Wernicke syndrome and Korsakoff syndrome are related disorders that often occur due to a deficiency of thiamine (vitamin B1). Wernicke's syndrome, also known as Wernicke encephalopathy, is a neurological disease characterized by the clinical triad of confusion, the inability to coordinate voluntary movement (ataxia), and eye (ocular) abnormalities. Korsakoff's syndrome is a mental disorder characterized by disproportionate memory loss in relation to other mental aspects. When these two disorders occur together, the term Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome is used. In the United States, most cases occur in alcoholics.

Some researchers believe Wernicke and Korsakoff syndromes are separate yet related disorders; others believe them to be different stages of the same disorder or disease spectrum. Wernicke syndrome is considered the acute phase with a shorter duration and more serious symptoms. Korsakoff syndrome is considered the chronic phase and is a long-lasting condition.

Resources

Mental Health America
2000 N. Beauregard Street, 6th Floor
Alexandria, VA 22314-2971
USA
Tel: (703)684-7722
Fax: (703)684-5968
Tel: (800)969-6642
TDD: (800)433-5959
Email: infoctr@mentalhealthamerica.net
Internet: http://www.mentalhealthamerica.net/

National Clearinghouse for Alcohol and Drug Information
P.O. Box 2345
Rockville, MD 20847-2345
Tel: (301)468-2600
Fax: (301)468-6433
Tel: (800)729-6686
TDD: (800)487-4889
Email: info@health.org
Internet: http://ncadi.samhsa.gov/

NIH/Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism
5635 Fishers Lane
MSC 9304
Bethesda, MD 20892-9304
Tel: (301)443-3860
Fax: (301)443-7043
Email: niaaaweb-r@exchange.nih.gov
Internet: http://www.niaaa.nih.gov/

NIH/National Institute of Diabetes, Digestive & Kidney Diseases
Office of Communications & Public Liaison
Bldg 31, Rm 9A06
31 Center Drive, MSC 2560
Bethesda, MD 20892-2560
Tel: (301)496-3583
Email: NDDIC@info.niddk.nih.gov
Internet: http://www2.niddk.nih.gov/

NIH/National Institute of Mental Health
Health Science Writing, Press and Dissemination Branch
6001 Executive Boulevard
Room 8184, MSC 9663
Bethesda, MD 20892-9663
Tel: (301)443-4513
Fax: (301)443-4279
Tel: (866)615-6464
TDD: (301)443-8431
Email: nimhinfo@nih.gov
Internet: http://www.nimh.nih.gov/index.shtml

Genetic and Rare Diseases (GARD) Information Center
PO Box 8126
Gaithersburg, MD 20898-8126
Tel: (301)251-4925
Fax: (301)251-4911
Tel: (888)205-2311
TDD: (888)205-3223
Internet: http://rarediseases.info.nih.gov/GARD/

For a Complete Report

This is an abstract of a report from the National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD). A copy of the complete report can be downloaded free from the NORD website for registered users. The complete report contains additional information including symptoms, causes, affected population, related disorders, standard and investigational therapies (if available), and references from medical literature. For a full-text version of this topic, go to www.rarediseases.org and click on Rare Disease Database under "Rare Disease Information".

The information provided in this report is not intended for diagnostic purposes. It is provided for informational purposes only. NORD recommends that affected individuals seek the advice or counsel of their own personal physicians.

It is possible that the title of this topic is not the name you selected. Please check the Synonyms listing to find the alternate name(s) and Disorder Subdivision(s) covered by this report

This disease entry is based upon medical information available through the date at the end of the topic. Since NORD's resources are limited, it is not possible to keep every entry in the Rare Disease Database completely current and accurate. Please check with the agencies listed in the Resources section for the most current information about this disorder.

For additional information and assistance about rare disorders, please contact the National Organization for Rare Disorders at P.O. Box 1968, Danbury, CT 06813-1968; phone (203) 744-0100; web site www.rarediseases.org or email orphan@rarediseases.org

Last Updated:  5/5/2008
Copyright  1986, 1992, 1998, 2005 National Organization for Rare Disorders, Inc.

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