Etymology: Karl Wernicke
an inflammatory, hemorrhagic, degenerative condition of the brain. It is characterized by lesions in several parts of the brain, including the hypothalamus, mammillary bodies, andtissues surrounding the ventricles and aqueducts, double vision, ophthalmoplegia, involuntary and rapid movements of the eyes, lack of muscular coordination, and decreasedmental function, which may be mild or severe. Wernicke’s encephalopathy is caused by a thiamine deficiency and is seen in association with chronic alcoholism. It also occurs asa complication of GI tract disease and hyperemesis gravidarum associated with malabsorption and malnutrition. Also called Wernicke’s syndrome.