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Gazzetta Medica Italiana Archivio per le Scienze Mediche 2018 June;177(6):334-41

DOI: 10.23736/S0393-3660.17.03661-0

Copyright © 2017 EDIZIONI MINERVA MEDICA

language: English

Non-alcoholic Wernicke’s encephalopathy: from MRI findings of a case to differential diagnosis checklist

Cesare GAGLIARDO 1 , Giuseppe LA TONA 1, Simona ARCULEO 1, Fabio BARONE 1, Giuseppe SALVAGGIO 1, Maria Pia PAPPALARDO 2, Carla CANNIZZARO 3, Roberto LAGALLA 1

1 Section of Radiological Sciences, Department of Biopathology and Medical Biotechnologies, University of Palermo, Palermo, Italy; 2 Unit of Neuroradiology, A.R.N.A.S. Civico Di Cristina Benfratelli, Palermo, Italy; 3 G. D’Alessandro Department of Maternal and Child’s Health, University of Palermo, Palermo, Italy


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Wernicke’s encephalopathy is a serious neurological disorder secondary to thiamine deficiency in alcoholics. However, rarely it affects non-alcoholics. Here we present a case of Wernicke’s encephalopathy in a non-alcoholic 56-year-old female, treated by endoscopic surgery for a duodenal ulcer two years before. She came to our attention for a sudden onset of a neurological syndrome characterized by visual deficits, diplopia, confusion, spatial disorientation and loss of short-term memory. An MRI scan showed the typical MRI findings of Wernicke’s encephalopathy, which are discussed together with the possible differential diagnosis.


KEY WORDS: Wernicke encephalopathy - Thiamine deficiency - Metabolic brain diseases - Magnetic resonance imaging - Diffusion-weighted magnetic resonance imaging

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