A deficiency in vitamin B1 can be a serious complication following a popular surgery to treat obesity, according to a case study published in the December 27, 2005 issue of Neurology, the scientific journal of the American Academy of Neurology. If untreated, vitamin B1 deficiency can lead to Wernicke encephalopathy, a severe neurological condition.
In the study, a 35-year-old woman developed many difficulties after gastric bypass (bariatric) surgery for obesity. Difficulties included nausea, anorexia, fatigue, hearing loss, forgetfulness, and ataxia, or an inability to coordinate muscle movements. By the 12th week following surgery, she had lost 40 pounds and had difficulty walking and concentrating.
"This case highlights the variability of Wernicke encephalopathy where the classic trio of eye movement abnormalities, confusion, and ataxia are seen in less than 20 percent of patients," said Heidi Schwarz, MD, who wrote a related commentary. "It is unusual because the patient also had hearing loss."
Marilee Tuite | EurekAlert!
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