Page 12-Saturday, August 12, 1978-The Michigan Daily
RESEARCHERS SAY THIAMINE COULD PRE VENT DISEASE
Vitamin-fortified booze could aid alcoholics
BOSTON (UPI) - Thiamine, the
vitamin essential to life that already is
used to fortify milk and bread, should
be added to alcoholic beverages, two
medical researchers said today.
Vitamin-fortified alcohol could keep
thousands of alcoholics from
developing a disease that forces them
to be put in institutions permanently
because their memories have crumbled
to nothing, the researchers said in The
New England Journal of Medicine.
AND KEEPING alcoholics out of the
hospital would save society millions of
dollars, far more than the program
would cost, they suggested.
The study was performed by Brandon
Centerwall, a medical student at the
University of California-San Diego, and
Dr. Michael Criqui, an assistant
professor of community medicine at the
school's La Jolla campus.
It's easy to joke about vitamin-
fortified booze, but Criqui said the
study addresses a quite serious
"WE'RE TALKING about saving the
public money and the opportunity of
virtually eliminating a disease in a
country. That opportunity occurs very
rarely," Criqui said in a telephone in-
The disease is called Wernicke-
Korsakoff syndrome. Its main cause is
thiamine Vitamin B-1 deficiency, and
alcoholics are practicallythe only ones
who suffer from it because most people
get thiamine in food. It's present
naturally in beans, green vegetables,
liver, egg yolk, brown rice and sweet
The disease starts with mental con-
fusion, uncoordinated walking and an
inability to focus the eyes. It gradually
worsens to a state of severe amnesia
where a victim engages in "con-
fabulation," constantly making up
stories to fill the frightening gaps in his
CENTERWALL AND Criqui said the
disease is rare, but a conservative
estimate is that 1,200 alcoholics every
year are institutionalized because of it,
about one-third of those permanently.
The cost to society of that long-term
care is $70 million a year, they
estimated. Fortifying the billions of
gallons of alcoholic beverages con-
sumed in the United States would cost
between $3 million and $17 million per
year, depending on how it's done, they
Could you pass this Red Cross swimming test?
1. Breaststroke-100 Yds.
2. Sidestroke -100 Yds.
3. Crawl stroke -100 Yds.
4. Back crawl -50 Yds.
5. On back (legs only)-50 Yds.
6. Turns (on front, back, side).
7. Surface dive-underwater swim-20 Ft.
8. Disrobe-float with clothes -5 mins.
9. Long shallow dive.
10. Running front dive.
11. 10-minute swim.
Anybody who's taken a Red Cross swim course knows
how tough it can be. There's a good reason.
We believe drowning is a serious business.
Last year alone, we taught 2,589,203 Americans not
to drown-in the seven different swim courses we offer
all across the country. (Incidentally, most of the teaching-
as with almost everything American Red Cross does-
is done by dedicated volunteers.)
A good many of the youngsters not only are learning
to keep themselves safe. Thousands upon thousands of
them are learning to become lifesavers.
And the life they save -may be your own.