Alcohol dependence is a significant cause of morbidity and mortality among Indigenous and non-Indigenous Territorians. Alcohol rapidly reduces thiamine levels among alcoholics, resulting in cognitive dysfunction and behavioural issues. Thiamine is a vital substrate enabling brain cell utilisation of glucose facilitating cognitive function.
This project will quantify the prevalence and degree of thiamine deficiency and cognitive and neurological impairment among alcohol dependent patients in the Alice Springs Hospital. It will correlate thiamine biomarkers with clinical state, as assessed by a computerised cognitive assessment (i.e.CogState) and standard neurological examination, among consecutive alcohol dependent patients. Based on their presenting clinical state, alcohol dependent patients will receive mid (300mg) or high (900mg) daily parenteral thiamine dose for 3 days to 5 days, reducing thereafter, as per current clinical practice.
Changes in thiamine levels and cognitive and neurological performance will be re-assessed at days 3, 7 and 30. This project is due to commence in 2012.