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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Coma in the Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome.

Four comatose patients were found to have the Wernicke-Krosakoff syndrome. All had a history of alcoholism, previous alcoholic neurological disease, and poor nutrition. Intravenous or nasogastric tube feeding without vitamin supplements precipitated coma in three. Examination showed a diffuse encephalopathy with intact pupillary light reflexes, no focal neurological signs, and absent doll's eye and caloric responses. The tendon reflexes were uniformly absent. Two patients were hypothermic and one was hypotensive. Although the level of consciousness improved in all after parenteral thiamine, three died and one was left disabled. The Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome merits wider recognition as a cause of coma and empirical treatment with thiamine in cases of coma of unknown cause is recommended.[1]


  1. Coma in the Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome. Wallis, W.E., Willoughby, E., Baker, P. Lancet (1978) [Pubmed]
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