Martini Memories

A 46-year-old alcoholic man had been admitted to another hospital for pneumonia and delirium tremens. Both of these were treated successfully in the usual way. But, following discharge, he failed to return to his usual mental state, at least according to his family's assessment. He was transferred back to the hospital for further neurologic evaluation.

On examination at admission, he was awake and alert with normal speech. His remote memory was intact, but recent memory was so severely impaired that he was unable to remember the name of 1 object for 15 seconds. He was slightly concrete in his interpretation of similarities and proverbs and was disoriented to time and place, but his bedside mental status examination was otherwise normal. There was slight horizontal nystagmus on extremes of lateral gaze bilaterally, the stance and gait were slightly wide-based, and he was unable to walk heel to toe along a straight line. The remainder of the examination was normal.

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