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

National Mental Health Association
2000 North Beauregard Street
6th Floor
Alexandria, VA 22311
USA
Tel: (703)684-7722
Fax: (703)684-5968
Tel: (800)969-6642
TDD: (800)433-5959
Email: infoctr@nmha.org
Internet: http://www.nmha.org

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://www.health.org

NIH/National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse
2 Information Way
Bethesda, MD 20892-3570
Tel: (301)654-3810
Fax: (301)907-8906
Tel: (800)891-5389
Email: nddic@info.niddk.nih.gov
Internet: http://www.niddk.nih.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

NIH/National Institute of Mental Health
6001 Executive Blvd
Rm 8184, MSC 9663
Rockville, MD 20892-9663
Tel: (301)443-4513
Email: nimhinfo@nih.gov
Internet: http://www.nimh.nih.gov/

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
Email: ordr@od.nih.gov
Internet: http://rarediseases.info.nih.gov/Default.aspx

For a Complete Report

For a Complete Report

This is an abstract of a report from the National Organization for Rare Disorders, Inc. ® (NORD). A copy of the complete report can be obtained for a small fee by visiting the NORD website. The complete report contains additional information including symptoms, causes, affected population, related disorders, standard and investigational treatments (if available), and references from medical literature. For a full-text version of this topic, see http://www.rarediseases.org/search/rdblist.html

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