Browsing by Subject "Korsakoff syndrome"

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  • Nikolakaros, Georgios; Kurki, Timo; Myllymäki, Arttu; Ilonen, Tuula (2019)
    Background: Wernicke's encephalopathy (WE) and Korsakoff syndrome (KS) are underdiagnosed. The DSM-5 has raised the diagnostic threshold by including KS in the major neurocognitive disorders, which requires that the patient needs help in everyday activities. Methods: We report clinical, neuropsychological, and radiological findings from a patient who developed Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome as a result of alcohol use and weight loss due to major depression. We assess the diagnosis in the context of the scientific literature on KS and according to the DSM-IV and the DSM-5. Results: The patient developed ataxia during a period of weight loss, thus fulfilling current diagnostic criteria of WE. WE was not diagnosed, but the patient partially improved after parenteral thiamine treatment. However, memory problems became evident, and KS was considered. In neuropsychological examination, the Logical Memory test and the Word List test were abnormal, but the Verbal Pair Associates test was normal (Wechsler Memory Scale-III). There were intrusions in the memory testing. The Wisconsin Card Sorting Test was broadly impaired, but the other test of executive functions (difference between Trail Making B and Trail Making A tests) was normal. There was atrophy of the mammillary bodies, the thalamus, the cerebellum, and in the basal ganglia but not in the frontal lobes. Diffusion tensor imaging showed damage in several tracts, including the uncinate fasciculi, the cinguli, the fornix, and the corona radiata. The patient remained independent in everyday activities. The patient can be diagnosed with KS according to the DSM-IV. According to the DSM-5, the patient has major neurocognitive disorders. Conclusions: Extensive memory testing is essential in the assessment of KS. Patients with a history of WE and typical clinical, neuropsychological, and radiological KS findings may be independent in everyday activities. Strict use of the DSM-5 may worsen the problem of Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome underdiagnosis by excluding clear KS cases that do not have very severe functional impairment.
  • Nikolakaros, Georgios; Kurki, Timo; Paju, Janina; Papageorgiou, Sokratis G.; Vataja, Risto; Ilonen, Tuula (2018)
    Background : Non-alcoholic Wernicke's encephalopathy and Korsakoff syndrome are greatly underdiagnosed. There are very few reported cases of neuropsychologically documented non-alcoholic Korsakoff syndrome, and diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) data are scarce. Methods : We report clinical characteristics and neuropsychological as well as radiological findings from three psychiatric patients (one woman and two men) with a history of probable undiagnosed non-alcoholic Wernicke's encephalopathy and subsequent chronic memory problems. Results : All patients had abnormal neuropsychological test results, predominantly in memory. Thus, the neuropsychological findings were compatible with Korsakoff syndrome. However, the neuropsychological findings were not uniform. The impairment of delayed verbal memory of the first patient was evident only when the results of the memory tests were compared to her general cognitive level. In addition, the logical memory test and the verbal working memory test were abnormal, but the word list memory test was normal. The second patient had impaired attention and psychomotor speed in addition to impaired memory. In the third patient, the word list memory test was abnormal, but the logical memory test was normal. All patients had intrusions in the neuropsychological examination. Executive functions were preserved, except for planning and foresight, which were impaired in two patients. Conventional MRI examination was normal. DTI showed reduced fractional anisotropy values in the uncinate fasciculus in two patients, and in the corpus callosum and in the subgenual cingulum in one patient. Conclusions: Non-alcoholic Korsakoff syndrome can have diverse neuropsychological findings. This may partly explain its marked underdiagnosis. Therefore, a strong index of suspicion is needed. The presence of intrusions in the neuropsychological examination supports the diagnosis. Damage in frontotemporal white matter tracts, particularly in the uncinate fasciculus, may be a feature of non-alcoholic Korsakoff syndrome in psychiatric patients.
  • Nikolakaros, Georgios; Ilonen, Tuula; Kurki, Timo; Paju, Janina; Papageorgiou, Sokratis G.; Vataja, Risto (2016)
    Wernicke's encephalopathy is often undiagnosed, particularly in non-alcoholics. There are very few reports of non-alcoholic patients diagnosed with Korsakoff syndrome in the absence of a prior diagnosis of Wernicke's encephalopathy and no studies of diffusion tensor imaging in non-alcoholic Korsakoff syndrome. We report on three non-alcoholic psychiatric patients (all women) with long-term non-progressive memory impairment that developed after malnutrition accompanied by at least one of the three Wemicke's encephalopathy manifestations: ocular abnormalities, ataxia or unsteadiness, and an altered mental state or mild memory impairment. In neuropsychological examination, all patients had memory impairment, including intrusions. One patient had mild cerebellar vermis atrophy in MRI taken after the second episode of Wemicke's encephalopathy. The same patient had mild hypometabolism in the lateral cortex of the temporal lobes. Another patient had mild symmetrical atrophy and hypometabolism of the superior frontal lobes. Two patients were examined with diffusion tensor imaging. Reduced fractional anisotropy values were found in the corona radiata in two patients, and the uncinate fasciculus and the inferior longitudinal fasciculus in one patient. Our results suggest that non-alcoholic Korsakoff syndrome is underdiagnosed. Psychiatric patients with long-term memory impairment may have Korsakoff syndrome and, therefore, they should be evaluated for a history of previously undiagnosed Wernicke's encephalopathy. (C) 2016 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.