Alternative Names: Wet brain
Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome stems from causes similar to those of beriberi, depletion of the body's stores of thiamine (vitamin B1) from many years of malnutrition due to alcoholism. Symptoms include anemia, anxiety, depression, and confusion. About 40% of those affected also have anemia as a result of folic acid deficiency. Weekly injections of thiamine and daily doses in capsule form can be used.
Korsakoff's psychosis, a disorder stemming from destruction of nerve fibers connecting brain cells, is a serious neurological/psychiatric disorder seen in advanced alcoholism. It stems from the effects of the acetaldehyde that builds up in the liver and spills over into the bloodstream, where it creates free radicals that cause damage throughout the body. In the brain it can impair cellular communication by injuring the nerve fibers connecting cells.
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