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Beyond the bowel: Wernicke's encephalopathy as a neurological complication of Crohn's disease: A case report.

Wernicke encephalopathy (WE) is a rare but severe neurological syndrome characterized, in its classic form, by the acute onset of ocular disturbances, ataxia, and cognitive impairment. It is caused by a deficiency of thiamine (vitamin B1) and mainly affects chronic alcoholics, although it can also affect patients with pathologies that lead to malnutrition. We present a case of a 58-year-old woman, who presented with significant weight loss over the past 6 months and who came to the emergency department for episodes of repetitive vomiting and a sleepy state. The patient underwent blood chemistry tests and a brain CT scan, which revealed symmetrical and bilateral hypodensity of the medial portion of the thalamus, tectal plate, and periaqueductal gray matte, suggestive of WE. She was subsequently referred to the Department of Neurology and underwent a brain MRI, which confirmed the clinical suspicion. She also had an abdominal CT scan and ileo-colonoscopy and was diagnosed with Crohn's disease. Immediately after the clinical diagnosis of WE, a replacement therapy based on intravenous thiamine at high doses was promptly set up, and the patient improved from a clinical point of view. Wernicke encephalopathy can be difficult to diagnose when it occurs in non-alcoholic patients; WE associated with IBD is a rare condition, and it can present with atypical and more subtle symptoms. Radiologists and physicians must be aware of this condition and imaging findings for rapid diagnosis and treatment.

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