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Korsakoff syndrome

Pronunciation: kor-sa'kof

Definition: an alcohol amnestic syndrome characterized by confusion and severe impairment of memory, especially for recent events, for which the patient compensates by confabulation. Typically encountered in patients with long-term alcoholism, delirium tremens may precede the syndrome, and Wernicke syndrome often coexists with it. The precise pathogenesis is uncertain, but direct toxic effects of alcohol are probably less important than severe nutritional deficiencies often associated with chronic alcoholism.

Synonym(s): amnestic syndrome1, dysmnesic syndrome, Korsakoff psychosis

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© Copyright 2017 Wolters Kluwer. All Rights Reserved. Review Date: Sep 19, 2016.