Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Study Expands Understanding Of Alcoholic Memory Disorder

Date:
December 25, 2003
Source:
American Academy Of Neurology
Summary:
New research finds that deficiencies in the hippocampus play a key role in alcoholism-related Korsakoff's syndrome, a memory disorder. The deficiencies are comparable to those found in the brains of Alzheimer's disease, according to a study published in the December 23 issue of Neurology, the scientific journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

ST. PAUL, MN – New research finds that deficiencies in the hippocampus play a key role in alcoholism-related Korsakoff's syndrome, a memory disorder. The deficiencies are comparable to those found in the brains of Alzheimer's disease, according to a study published in the December 23 issue of Neurology, the scientific journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

Related Articles


Researchers used MRI to compare the brains of five men with alcoholic Korsakoff's syndrome to 20 men with Alzheimer's disease and 36 healthy men. The brains of all Korsakoff's patients and Alzheimer's patients were comparable in significant volume loss in the hippocampus, which plays an important role in memory functions. Greater hippocampal damage was correlated to a higher memory deterioration index score for the Korsakoff's patients. The study authors also reported a similar correlation in Alzheimer's patients, where poor memory performance correlated with smaller hippocampal size.

"Awareness of the clinical and radiological similarities between Korsakoff's syndrome and Alzheimer's disease may help with the detection of each," said study author Edith V. Sullivan, PhD, of Stanford University School of Medicine in Stanford, Calif. "Although controversial, we believe that the nature of the memory impairment in these disorders is the same, while their overall profiles are different."

The amnesia of alcoholic Korsakoff's syndrome was long believed to be rooted in the thalamus (relay center for impulses) and other deep structures of the brain. The Korsakoff's patients in the study had twice the hippocampal damage previously observed in alcoholics without amnesia. This suggests that a threshold may need to be crossed before memory impairment can be detected, noted Sullivan.

Resulting from a lack of thiamine (vitamin B1), Korsakoff's syndrome is typically a consequence of chronic alcohol dependence. Individuals at risk include those with nutritional deficiency disorders like anorexia. The nutrient thiamine helps restore certain brain functions like recalling past events and storing new information.

Current treatment of Korsakoff's patients includes thiamine and other B-complex vitamins. If treated early enough, Korsakoff's patients may have at least partial recovery, according to Sullivan.

"It would be important for clinicians who diagnose and treat dementia disorders to consider Korsakoff's syndrome in their diagnoses," said Sullivan. "It is also important to inquire about alcohol consumption and diet, bearing in mind the potential of denial and inaccuracies in history such patients may provide."

###The study was supported by grants from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism and the National Institute on Aging.

The American Academy of Neurology, an association of more than 18,000 neurologists and neuroscience professionals, is dedicated to improving patient care through education and research. A neurologist is a doctor with specialized training in diagnosing, treating and managing disorders of the brain and nervous system such as stroke, Alzheimer's disease, epilepsy, Parkinson's disease, autism and multiple sclerosis.

For more information about the American Academy of Neurology, visit its web site at http://www.aan.com.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Academy Of Neurology. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

American Academy Of Neurology. "Study Expands Understanding Of Alcoholic Memory Disorder." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 25 December 2003. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2003/12/031223063537.htm>.
American Academy Of Neurology. (2003, December 25). Study Expands Understanding Of Alcoholic Memory Disorder. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 18, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2003/12/031223063537.htm
American Academy Of Neurology. "Study Expands Understanding Of Alcoholic Memory Disorder." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2003/12/031223063537.htm (accessed December 18, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Mind & Brain News

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Yoga Could Be As Beneficial For The Heart As Walking, Biking

Yoga Could Be As Beneficial For The Heart As Walking, Biking

Newsy (Dec. 17, 2014) Yoga can help your weight, blood pressure, cholesterol and heart just as much as biking and walking does, a new study suggests. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
1st Responders Trained for Autism Sensitivity

1st Responders Trained for Autism Sensitivity

AP (Dec. 16, 2014) More departments are ordering their first responders to sit in on training sessions that focus on how to more effectively interact with those with autism spectrum disorder (Dec. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Guys Are Idiots, According To Sarcastic Study

Guys Are Idiots, According To Sarcastic Study

Newsy (Dec. 12, 2014) A study out of Britain suggest men are more idiotic than women based on the rate of accidental deaths and other factors. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Believing in Father Christmas Good for Children's Imaginations

Believing in Father Christmas Good for Children's Imaginations

AFP (Dec. 12, 2014) As the countdown to Christmas gets underway, so too does the Father Christmas conspiracy. But psychologists say that telling our children about Santa, flying reindeer and elves is good for their imaginations. Duration: 01:57 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins