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Med J Aust. 1986 Sep 1;145(5):216-9.

Thiamin deficiency and prevention of the Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome. A major public health problem.


There has been long-standing debate in Australia about the role of thiamin deficiency in the aetiology of the Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome, the prevalence of the syndrome itself and the preventive measures that might be undertaken to reduce the prevalence rates. A literature review, and the results of a study of the follow-up arrangements of patients who were admitted with Korsakoff's syndrome to the two major South Australian psychiatric hospitals indicate that the syndrome is a major public health problem which requires immediate political intervention. Recommendations are made that a national policy of the fortification of flour and bread with thiamin, as well as of alcoholic beverages, should be implemented.

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