Thursday, May 01, 2008

Another word: confabulation

Wikipedia says the following about "confabulation": confabulation, also known as false memory is the confusion of imagination with memory, and/or the confusion of true memories with false memories. [1] Confabulation can result from both organic and psychological causes.

People who confabulate tell stories that might be construed as lies by the listener. The person with this syndrome is not aware of his non-sensical behavior.

I mentioned the word "confabulation" in a previous blog in the context of alcohol intoxication. In reality, however, confabulation happens much more often as a symptom of vitamin B1 deficiency otherwise known as beri beri. It is then known as Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome. This syndrome occurs in alcoholics because they tend to be deficient in vitamin B1 or Thiamine.

Beri beri was a deficiency disease that killed many thousands of people in the 19th century especially in China because polished rice became the food of choice, and nobody knew why people became disabled with beri beri and died.

Confabulation is not the only symptom of Vitamin B1 deficiency. But it is one that is puzzling and potentially, just like erethism, not recognized as a physical problem. The first person to, usually, see a person who confabulates is a psychiatrist, and he won't necessarily test for mere vitamin deficiency.

One more thing, a person who is mercury-poisoned might also be Vitamin B1 deficient because mercury denatures the vitamin because it attaches itself to the sulfur contained in it. Thus it renders it an impostor or mimic. The human organism deals with it as a toxin, while, at the same time, it cannot use the vitamin for vital functions.


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