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January 1957

Carbohydrate Metabolism in Brain Disease: IX. Carbohydrate Metabolism in the Chronic Alcoholic Psychoses

Author Affiliations

Waverley, Mass.; Boston; Waverley, Mass.

From the Laboratory of Clinical Physiology, McLean Hospital, Waverley, Mass., the Department of Neurology, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, and the Departments of Medicine and Neurology, Harvard Medical School, Boston.

AMA Arch Intern Med. 1957;99(1):40-46. doi:10.1001/archinte.1957.00260010042006

Earlier work has shown that patients with schizophrenic, manic-depressive, and involutional psychoses have a disorder of carbohydrate metabolism 1 that is indistinguishable from one exhibited by nonpsychotic patients with a chronic brain disease, i. e., multiple sclerosis.2 The present report describes certain aspects of carbohydrate metabolism in another brain disease—chronic alcoholic psychosis. Actually, the patients discussed here constituted two groups: (a) those with Korsakoff's psychosis and (b) those with chronic auditory hallucinosis associated with alcoholism.

Material and Methods  Nine patients were studied; all were women. One group consisted of four patients, aged 31, 49, 60, and 62 years, respectively, with the classic features of Korsakoff's psychosis—impairment of memory, confabulation, and an inability to learn and retain newly presented material. All four patients had a background of serious alcoholism and still showed the stigmata of a previous attack of Wernicke's encephalopathy in the form of horizontal nystagmus and slight ataxia.

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