by Lori Cormack 8th October 2009
Today’s youth could be doomed to become a generation of Korsakoff’s Syndrome sufferers because of a life-style of weekend binge drinking and widespread eating disorders.
The syndrome, so-called after neuropsychiatrist Sergei Korsakoff, is caused by a major deficiancy in Vitamin B12 thiamine and leads to memory loss, decreased brain function and coma.
Information on the drink aware website shows that Britain has the highest rates of binge drinking in Europe. Binge drinking and eating disorders in early life can lead to major health problems in old age. Liver cancer, osteoporosis, arthritis, and kidney failure are all on the rise because of youths drinking through boredom and starving themselves for the model look. However, Koraskoff’s has not had widespread coverage, namely because it is only attributed to Alzeihmer sufferers and other memory loss sufferers.
The thiamine deficiancy is irreversible because of permanent damage to mammilliary bodies in the brain. Both alcoholism and eating disorders lead to a decreased intake of the vitamin. As a result, the younger the deficiancy is begun, the earlier the signs of Korsakoff’s will appear. Those with the syndrome are often mistaken for drunks or drug users because of decreased brain activity and muscle loss in the eyes. And because of little coverage, much of the population is unaware of the brain-affecting syndrome.
Chief Medical Officer, Sir Liam Donaldson explains that although under-18’s should not consume alcohol on more than one day of the week, if at all, ‘Support services must be available for young people who have alcohol-related problems’.