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Surv Ophthalmol. 2005 Jul-Aug;50(4):389-93.

You are what you eat.

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Department of Ophthalmology, University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-1091, USA.


Wernicke encephalopathy consists of a triad of ophthalmoplegia, ataxia, and altered mental status. It is caused by thiamine deficiency and although it is commonly seen in alcoholics, patients undergoing gastric bypass surgery for morbid obesity could be a new group of patients to watch for. Florid papilloedema and optic neuropathy are not commonly seen but are still consistent with the diagnosis of Wernicke encephalopathy. The most striking feature remains the dramatic recovery after replacement of thiamine.

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