Wernicke's encephalopathy and Korsakoff's psychosis: to fortify or not to fortify?

Nigel W. Bond*, Judi Homewood

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    5 Citations (Scopus)


    The conventional wisdom suggests that Korsakoff's psychosis, an amnesic disorder associated with prolonged alcohol consumption, is the chronic outcome of a thiamin deficiency first exhibited as Wernicke's encephalopathy. The present paper describes the debate in Australia over whether flour and alcoholic beverages should be fortified with thiamin, in an attempt to prevent Wernicke's encephalopathy and thus Korsakoff's psychosis. We conclude that the scientific evidence linking Wernicke's encephalopathy and Korsakoff's psychosis is tenuous. Certainly, it is not sufficient to support what would amount to mass medication.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)353-355
    Number of pages3
    JournalNeurotoxicology and Teratology
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - 1991


    • alcohol
    • Australia
    • fortification
    • Korsakoff's psychosis
    • thiamin
    • Wernicke's encephalopathy


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