Wernicke Encephalopathy and Korsakoff Syndrome Essay Example
Wernicke Encephalopathy and Korsakoff Syndrome Essay Example

Wernicke Encephalopathy and Korsakoff Syndrome Essay Example

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  • Pages: 2 (277 words)
  • Published: May 19, 2017
  • Type: Case Study
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Wernicke Encephalopathy and Korsakoff Syndrome are stages of the same disease, called WKS. This condition primarily affects memory and is caused by a deficiency of Vitamin B1 or Thiamine in the brain. Thiamine has a crucial role in metabolizing glucose and providing energy for proper brain function. The areas most affected by WKS include the Hypothalamus and Thalamus, which impact various functions such as temperature regulation (Homeostasis) and control of the Pituitary Gland (Hormones), among others (In Family Caregiver Alliance, 2008).

Individuals struggling with alcoholism often have low Thiamine counts. According to the Alzheimer's Group (2002), approximately 1-2 million Americans suffer from this condition. The same source explains that people who lack proper nutrients due to factors such as malabsorption, anorexia, AIDS, obesity, surgery or genetic predispositions may develop Wernicke-Korsakoff


Syndrome (WKS). Korsakoff Syndrome is typically observed prior to an episode of Wernicke Encephalopathy and is considered the acute phase of the disease. Symptoms of Korsakoff Syndrome include memory loss, hallucinations, reduced muscle tone (Hypotonia), and abnormal eye movement.

Wernicke Encephalopathy (WKS) can result in the failure to form new memories or a life-threatening disruption in the brain. It is challenging to detect WKS because its symptoms can be concealed by other conditions. For instance, hallucinations can also be withdrawal symptoms for individuals who abuse alcohol. Only 4% - 2.8% of cases of WKS have been reported, and 25% of cases were missed because the specific region of the brain was not examined under a microscope. WKS is also the only disease that can cause Dementia. Out of the 2.1 million Americans who have Dementia, 22% - 29% of them are attributed to WKS. If left untreated,

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WKS can potentially result in a death rate of 10% - 20%.

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