Confabulating house officer
Lilantha Wedisinghe experienced a rare disease because of a lack of her mum's cooking
- By: Lilantha Wedisinghe
Poor short term memory that led to difficulty in making notes, sleep disturbances followed by fatigue and irritability, headache, numbness in my fingers, severe anorexia, and constipation were the commonest symptoms that I experienced. Deterioration of my clinical performance was noted by senior colleagues. No cause was found for weeks, but eventually I found that I was vitamin-B1 (thiamin) deficient (beriberi).
The commonest cause of vitamin-B1 deficiency is poor dietary intake resulting from states of severe starvation, alcohol misuse, and poor quality diet. Foods such as liver, pork, duck, legumes, pulses, hulls of grains, and green vegetables are rich in thiamin. Other foods are fortified with thiamin-for example, white flour and its products, and cereals. Yeast extracts are a good source of thiamin. Vitamin-B1 is water soluble and heat unstable and is therefore destroyed by boiling.
Being South Asian, I used to eat lots of green leafy vegetables, pulses, and