Korsakoff syndrome

Facts About Other Dementias

Not everyone who shows signs of dementia has Alzheimer’s disease. Dementia is an umbrella term that covers many separate diseases. It is a general term for loss of memory and other mental abilities severe enough to interfere with daily life. Therefore, dementia is not a disease; it is a syndrome, or group of symptoms, associated with many separate underlying diseases. There are over 20 different types of dementing diseases but the most common is Alzheimer’s, accounting for 60-80 percent of the cases. Individuals may have more than one type of dementia.

Korsakoff Syndrome

is most commonly caused by alcohol misuse, but can also be associated with AIDS, chronic infections, poor nutrition and certain other conditions. Korsakoff syndrome is often, but not always, preceded by an episode of Wernicke encephalopathy, which is an acute brain reaction to severe lack of thiamine. Wernicke encephalopathy is a medical emergency that causes life-threatening brain disruption, confusion, staggering and stumbling, lack of coordination, and abnormal involuntary eye movements.

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