Visual evoked responses (VERs) were recorded on 52 chronic alcoholics patients without Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome, 22 of whom had cerebellar ataxia, and eight chronic alcoholics with Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome. Abnormal VERs were found in 23% of patients without and 37% of patients with Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome. The main VER abnormalities of all the alcoholic groups were prolonged latency and reduced amplitude of the P100 component. Improvement followed a six month period of abstinence. VERs may be useful in the early detection of alcohol induced brain damage, and in following the progress of patients with the condition.
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