Korsakoff's Essay

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Korsakoff’s syndrome is a brain disorder which is usually associated with heavy alcohol consumption over a long period of time (Alzheimer's Society, 2012). Heavy drinkers usually have a lack of thiamine (Vitamin B1) which is found in beans, green vegetables, egg yolks and liver, affects the brain and nervous system. The lack of thiamine is usually due to: * Not eating proper meals which means not getting vitamins which are essential for the functioning of the body. * Inflammation of the stomach lining caused by alcohol which can cause recurring vomiting which then makes it difficult for the body to absorb key vitamins. * Thiamine (Vitamin B1) converting into the active form (thiamine pyrophosphate) can be interfered by drinking a lot of alcohol. It is part of a condition called Wernickes-Korsakoff’s which is ‘two separate but related stages’ (Alzheimer's Society, 2012). It starts with Wernickes Encephalopathy (an Encephalopathy is a disorder of the brain that effects it from functioning properly). If a person is thought to have Wernickes, the treatment is by injecting a great dose of thiamine into a vein. If it is left untreated or not treated quick enough, it then develops into Korsakoff’s syndrome. The damage happens in very small, important deep areas in the brain which leads to short term memory loss (Alzheimer's Society, 2012). Wernickes progresses rapidly and there are four main symptoms but a person only needs to show signs of two symptoms for Wernickes to be suspected: * Malnutrition – Very slim and underweight * Very quick and sudden eye movements * Having trouble finding balance when standing up * Finding it difficult to understand a location, looking in a confused state According to the Alzheimer’s Society, ‘one in eight people’ that depend on alcohol will get Korsakoff’s syndrome (Alzheimer's Society, 2012). It is more

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