Wernicke encephalopathy and ethanol-related syndromes

Semin Ultrasound CT MR. 2014 Apr;35(2):85-96. doi: 10.1053/j.sult.2013.09.004.


Ethanol causes diverse neurologic conditions caused by acute and chronic brain damage. This review provides an overview of Wernicke encephalopathy and other ethanol-related brain changes, such as chronic brain atrophy, Marchiafava-Bignami disease, osmotic demyelination syndrome, chronic hepatic encephalopathy, and acute alcohol withdrawal. As clinical symptoms of this spectrum of diseases have nonspecific neurologic alterations, radiologists should have current radiologic information and understand the imaging findings pertaining to the pathophysiology to support diagnosis.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Alcoholism / diagnosis*
  • Alcoholism / etiology*
  • Ethanol / poisoning*
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods*
  • Syndrome
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed / methods*
  • Wernicke Encephalopathy / chemically induced*
  • Wernicke Encephalopathy / diagnosis*


  • Ethanol