Wernicke's Syndrome: What We Don't Teach

George H. Sands, MD; Katherine Mulloy
JAMA. 1987;258(18):2530. doi:10.1001/jama.1987.03400180064025.
Text Size: A A A
Published online

To the Editor.—  It has been recognized that Wernicke's encephalopathy is significantly underdiagnosed during life.1-4 Many physicians learn to look for this disorder only in patients with chronic alcoholism.4 Reuler et al3 note this syndrome is "even less frequently considered in the nonalcoholic population." We have noted that Wernicke's encephalopathy is infrequently considered when a history of alcoholism is absent, despite malnutrition.

Study.—  We evaluated our medical and neurological house staff's knowledge of Wernicke's encephalopathy by reading a vignette to 40 consecutive residents doing a rotation on the neurology service between May 1986 and May 1987. The following vignette was read to each resident: "You are a physician in the emergency room and you are asked to see a 63-year-old woman with a history of stomach cancer who is brought to the ER because of confusion. She is not able to really give you much more history.


Sign In to Access Full Content

Don't have Access?

Register and get free email Table of Contents alerts, saved searches, PowerPoint downloads, CME quizzes, and more

Subscribe for full-text access to content from 1998 forward and a host of useful features

Activate your current subscription (AMA members and current subscribers)

Purchase Online Access to this article for 24 hours




Meets CME requirements for:
Browse CME for all U.S. States
Accreditation Information
The American Medical Association is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education to provide continuing medical education for physicians. The AMA designates this journal-based CME activity for a maximum of 1 AMA PRA Category 1 CreditTM per course. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity. Physicians who complete the CME course and score at least 80% correct on the quiz are eligible for AMA PRA Category 1 CreditTM.
Note: You must get at least of the answers correct to pass this quiz.
You have not filled in all the answers to complete this quiz
The following questions were not answered:
Sorry, you have unsuccessfully completed this CME quiz with a score of
The following questions were not answered correctly:
Commitment to Change (optional):
Indicate what change(s) you will implement in your practice, if any, based on this CME course.
Your quiz results:
The filled radio buttons indicate your responses. The preferred responses are highlighted
For CME Course: A Proposed Model for Initial Assessment and Management of Acute Heart Failure Syndromes
Indicate what changes(s) you will implement in your practice, if any, based on this CME course.
Citing articles are presented as examples only. In non-demo SCM6 implementation, integration with CrossRef’s "Cited By" API will populate this tab (http://www.crossref.org/citedby.html).


Some tools below are only available to our subscribers or users with an online account.

Sign In to Access Full Content

Related Content

Customize your page view by dragging & repositioning the boxes below.