A Case of Korsakoff Syndrome in a Chinese Female Malaysian

Loo JL, Amer-Nordin AS


Introduction: Korsakoff Syndrome (KS) is a preventable memory disorder that can occur after Wernicke’s encephalopathy (WE). There is scarce information regarding KS in Malaysia. 

Method: Case report.

Results: A 49 year-old Chinese lady with daily alcohol use in between 15-20 units for more than 10 years became forgetful eight months prior to her admission due to withdrawal symptoms and a fall when she attempted to cut down her alcohol use to 7–8 units. Examination revealed confabulation, dysdiadochokinesia, resting and intentional tremor but not confusion, ophthalmoplegia, nystagmus or ataxia. Mini mental state examination result was 14/30. Investigations revealed features of chronic alcohol use and cerebral atrophy of bilateral frontotemporal lobe. Despite aggressive treatment with intravenous and oral thiamine, the patient’s cognitive deficit persisted. Hence KS was diagnosed.

Discussion: There is no proven treatment that can reverse KS other than prevention. Thiamine fortification may be implemented locally to prevent this condition.

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Korsakoff Syndrome; Thiamine Deficiency; Dementia; Neurocognitive Disorder; Alcohol Dependence

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