Wernicke's encephalopathy

Common Name(s)

Wernicke's encephalopathy

Wernicke’s encephalopathy refers to the presence of neurological symptoms (affecting the brain, spinal cord, or nerves) brought on by a thiamine deficiency. A thiamine (vitamin B1) deficiency is often associated with alcoholism but can also be due to bariatric surgery (operations performed to reduce the size of the stomach so an individual can lose weight), prolonged starvation, or HIV/AIDS.

Symptoms of this condition may include uncontrolled or unintentional muscle movements, confusion, and eye abnormalities. Chronic thiamine deficiency could lead to Korsakoff syndrome (please also see Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome). Taking thiamine supplements can improve the patient’s condition when treated early, but late-stage Wernicke encephalopathy can be significantly disabling. Patients who have been treated for Wernicke's encephalopathy should avoid alcohol consumption and other behaviors that may make them more susceptible to thiamine deficiency. Talk with your doctor if you or a family member has been diagnosed with Wernicke’s encephalopathy to discuss treatment and care plan options. Support groups are also a good source of support and information.

Source: Advocacy organizations associated with the condition.

 

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Condition Specific Organizations

Following organizations serve the condition "Wernicke's encephalopathy" for support, advocacy or research.

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General Support Organizations

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Scientific Literature

Articles from the PubMed Database

Research articles describe the outcome of a single study. They are the published results of original research.
The terms "Wernicke's encephalopathy" returned 84 free, full-text research articles on human participants. First 3 results:

Nystagmus from Wernicke's Encephalopathy.
 

Author(s): Pria Anand, Daniel R Gold

Journal: N. Engl. J. Med.. 2017 Jul;377(4):e5.

 

Last Updated: 26 Jul 2017

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Systemic lupus erythematosus: A possible cause of non-alcoholic Wernicke's encephalopathy.
 

Author(s): M T L Nyo, D Magazi, M M T M Ally

Journal:

 

We report a young woman with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) and an acute cerebellar ataxia. A history of poor appetite and vomiting preceded the inco-ordination. Ataxia in SLE has been well described, but is nevertheless uncommon. The clinical triad of mild confusion, ataxia ...

Last Updated: 11 Apr 2017

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Wernicke's encephalopathy due to hyperemesis gravidarum: Clinical and magnetic resonance imaging characteristics.
 

Author(s): V V Ashraf, J Prijesh, R Praveenkumar, K Saifudheen

Journal: J Postgrad Med. ;62(4):260-263.

 

Hyperemesis gravidarum-induced Wernicke's encephalopathy (WE) is an underestimated condition. The purpose of this study is to improve its awareness and early diagnosis. We report five cases of WE secondary to hyperemesis gravidarum. Classic triad of encephalopathy, ataxia, and ocular ...

Last Updated: 20 Oct 2016

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Reviews from the PubMed Database

Review articles summarize what is currently known about a disease. They discuss research previously published by others.
The terms "Wernicke's encephalopathy" returned 7 free, full-text review articles on human participants. First 3 results:

High-dose Parenteral Thiamine in Treatment of Wernicke's Encephalopathy: Case Series and Review of the Literature.
 

Author(s): Andrew Nishimoto, Justin Usery, John C Winton, Jennifer Twilla

Journal: In Vivo. 2017 01;31(1):121-124.

 

Thiamine deficiency can lead to Wernicke's encephalopathy (WE), an acute and potentially life-threatening neurological disorder. Even though the main treatment modality for WE consists of thiamine replacement, evidence supporting an optimal dosing strategy and duration is unclear.

Last Updated: 8 Jan 2017

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Palliative treatment of thiamine-related encephalopathy (Wernicke's encephalopathy) in cancer: A case series and review of the literature.
 

Author(s): Elie Isenberg-Grzeda, Alan John Hsu, Vaios Hatzoglou, Christian Nelso, William Breitbart

Journal: Palliat Support Care. 2015 Oct;13(5):1241-9.

 

Thiamine-related encephalopathy (Wernicke's encephalopathy) is a neuropsychiatric syndrome caused by a vitamin B1 (thiamine) deficiency often associated with alcoholism. Cancer predisposes patients to thiamine deficiency unrelated to alcoholism, though many cases are missed clinically. ...

Last Updated: 24 Sep 2015

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MR imaging findings in alcoholic and nonalcoholic acute Wernicke's encephalopathy: a review.
 

Author(s): Gaetana Manzo, Angela De Gennaro, Attilio Cozzolino, Antonietta Serino, Giacomo Fenza, Andrea Manto

Journal: Biomed Res Int. 2014 ;2014():503596.

 

Wernicke's encephalopathy (WE) is a severe neurological syndrome caused by thiamine (vitamin B1) deficiency and clinically characterized by the sudden onset of mental status changes, ocular abnormalities, and ataxia. Apart from chronic alcoholism, the most common cause of WE, a lot ...

Last Updated: 22 Jul 2014

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Clinical Trial Information This information is provided by ClinicalTrials.gov

Optimum Thiamine Intervention (OpTIn) Trial
 

Status: Recruiting

Condition Summary: Wernicke-Korsakoff Syndrome

 

Last Updated: 26 May 2016

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Bilateral Repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation for Auditory Hallucinations
 

Status: Recruiting

Condition Summary: Schizophrenia

 

Last Updated: 23 Aug 2016

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