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Korsakoff's Syndrome - Symptoms Of Korsakoff's Syndrome

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An individual with Korsakoff's syndrome displays difficulty with memory. The main area of memory affected is the ability to learn new information. Usually, intelligence and memory for past events is relatively unaffected, so that an individual may remember what occurred 20 years previously, but be unable to remember what occurred 20 minutes previously. This memory defect is referred to as anterograde amnesia, and leads to a peculiar symptom called "confabulation," in which an individual suffering from Korsakoff's fills in the gaps in his/her memory with fabricated or imagined information. An individual may insist that a doctor to whom he/she has just been introduced is actually an old high school classmate, and may have a lengthy story to back this up. When asked, as part of a memory test, to remember the name of three objects which the examiner listed 10 minutes earlier, an individual with Korsakoff's may list three entirely different objects and be completely convincing in his/her certainty. In fact, one of the hallmarks of Korsakoff's is the individual's complete unawareness of his/her memory defect, and complete lack of worry or concern when it is pointed out.

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