Korsakoff's syndrome, characterized by amnesia, confabulation, disorientation, and peripheral neuritis, usually arises in chronic alcoholics who have a history of poor dietary intake. The relatively limited subcortical lesion (mammillary bodies and periaqueductal or periventricular gray in 95% to 100% of cases1) that is associated with Korsakoff's syndrome in alcoholics may offer a special opportunity for understanding brain function. Therefore, precise delineation of cognitive dysfunction in Korsakoff's Syndrome is of interest.
In this investigation, we tested chronic alcoholics with no evidence of brain damage and Korsakoff patients on the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale (WAIS), the Shipley Institute of Living Scale (SILS), and the Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test (PPVT). The WAIS is sufficiently widely known and used as to justify no discussion here.
The SILS is a self-administered paper and pencil intelligence test composed of two parts. The first part is a multiple choice vocabulary test. The second part