Wernicke's syndrome

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Wernicke, Carl

Ger. neurologist, 1848–1905.

Wernicke's aphasia

An injury to the Wernicke's area in the temporal lobe of the dominant hemisphere of the brain, resulting in an inability to comprehend the spoken or written word. Visual and auditory pathways are unaffected, but patients are unable to differentiate between words or interpret their meaning. Although patients speak fluently, they are unable to function socially because their ability to communicate effectively is impaired by paraphasia. They also may be unable to repeat spoken words. If the condition is due to a stroke, the aphasia may improve with time. The disorder is often caused by impairment of blood flow through the lower division of the left middle cerebral artery.
See: speech, paraphasic

Wernicke's area

An area in the dominant hemisphere of the brain that recalls, recognizes, and interprets words and other sounds in the process of using language.
Synonym: Wernicke's center

Wernicke's center

Wernicke's area.

Wernicke's encephalopathy

Encephalopathy associated with thiamine (vitamin B1) deficiency; usually associated with chronic alcoholism or other causes of severe malnutrition. Synonym: Wernicke's syndrome

Wernicke's syndrome

Wernicke's encephalopathy.
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