Isolated mammillary body involvement on MRI in Wernicke's encephalopathy

Shin C Beh, Teresa C. Frohman, Elliot Frohman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


A 48-year-old woman, with a remote history of gastric-banding as well as recent-onset post-prandial vomiting and excessive wine-drinking, was admitted with progressively-worsening gait incoordination. She showed gaze-evoked nystagmus and gait ataxia. Brain MRI revealed conspicuous, isolated, symmetrical T2/FLAIR-hyperintensities and gadolinium-enhancement of the mammillary bodies. Serum thiamine and folate were low. Following thiamine and folate replacement therapy, her ataxia resolved. Given the rising number of bariatric procedures, we discuss the importance of recognizing thiamine-deficiency in these patients. Additionally, while isolated involvement of the mammillary bodies is a rare finding in this disorder, we highlight radiologic changes that neurologists should recognize.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)172-175
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of the Neurological Sciences
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Nov 15 2013


  • Bariatric surgery
  • MRI
  • Mammillary bodies
  • Papez circuit
  • Thiamine deficiency
  • Wernicke's encephalopathy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology


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