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A Case of Non-Alcoholic Korsakoff Syndrome Resulting from Malnutrition due to Self-Neglect and Severe Depression

Author(s): Yuji Odagaki

Korsakoff syndrome is a preventable memory disorder that often emerges in the aftermath of an episode of Wernicke’s encephalopathy resulting from a thiamine deficiency. Although historically associated with alcoholism, case reports of non-alcoholic patients with Wernicke -Korsakoff syndrome are accumulating. In this case report, I present a 38-year-old male patient with Korsakoff syndrome resulting from Wernicke’s encephalopathy that developed due to malnutrition from self-neglect that was presumably a result of severe depression. Among the cases of Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome not related to alcohol, gastrointestinal tract disease, bariatric surgery, and hyperemesis gravidarum are the predominant medical conditions that are precipitating risk factors. Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome resulting from psychiatric-related malnutrition is much less common, and nine cases with this syndrome associated with a psychiatric disorder other than anorexia nervosa have been reported to date. All physicians should consider this syndrome when they encounter a patient with any nutritional deficiency, including those resulting from self-neglect due to a psychiatric disorder, even if the patient is not an alcoholic.

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