Neurological Sciences

, Volume 39, Issue 8, pp 1493–1495 | Cite as

Non-alcoholic Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome heralding non-Hodgkin lymphoma progression

  • Arturo de Falco
  • Marta De Simone
  • Daniele Spitaleri
  • Fabrizio Antonio de Falco
Letter to the Editor

Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome (WKS) is an acute neuropsychiatric syndrome caused by thiamine (vitamin B1) deficiency characterized by ocular signs, mental status changes, and ataxia [1]. Thiamine deficiency leads to brain lesions because of the impaired function of enzymes requiring thiamine pyrophosphate as a coenzyme in vulnerable regions with high thiamine content and turnover [2]. Chronic alcohol use is the most frequent condition that predisposes to thiamine deficiency [1], but WKS can also be caused by a variety of non-alcoholic precipitating illnesses. In a recent systematic review on 613 non-alcoholic WKS, most frequent precipitating illnesses were hyperemesis gravidarum in 18% of cases, dietary insufficiency or vomiting in 17%, bariatric surgery in 11%, gastrointestinal cancer in 9%, leukemia or cancer of lymphoid system in 6%, and intravenous feeding in 5% [3].

Patients with cancer are at risk of thiamine deficiency due to anorexia, vomiting, malabsorption and malnutrition,...


Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.

Ethical approval

All procedures performed in the studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional committee and with the 1964 Helsinki Declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed consent

For this type of study, formal consent is not required.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Italia S.r.l., part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Neurology and Stroke UnitAzienda Ospedaliera San G. MoscatiAvellinoItaly
  2. 2.Neuroradiology UnitAzienda Ospedaliera San G. Moscati, AvellinoAvellinoItaly
  3. 3.Neurology UnitOspedale del MareNaplesItaly

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