Medical Definition of Wernicke's encephalopathy
: an acute inflammatory hemorrhagic encephalopathy that is caused by thiamine deficiency (such as that associated with chronic alcoholism or malnutrition) and is characterized by loss of muscle coordination, visual disturbances (such as abnormal eye movement and diplopia), and confusion and memory loss
Note: Wernicke's encephalopathy is life-threatening if untreated and often precedes Korsakoff syndrome.
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