Age, alcoholism, chemotherapy, dialysis, extreme dieting, and genetic factors also contribute to the development of this syndrome. The most important treatment (aside from cessation of alcohol use) is some form of thiamine (vitamin B1) supplementation - injection/IV/oral.
The causes section of that wikipedia entry says "Mercury poisoning can also lead to Korsakoff's syndrome." Maybe mercury contamination is another factor in the thiamine deficiencies observed in ocean wildlife.
Edit: added the clarification that thiamine and Vitamin B1 are synonymous.
It's amazing to think about the scarcity of various metabolites and how they might become concentrated in different populations and species over long time scales. I wonder if these phenomena are long scale oscillations that we are just scientifically observant enough to begin noticing.
There is roughly a 1% decrease in nutrient density for every 6.25ppm increase of CO₂ in the atmosphere. From 1945 to 1985 atmospheric CO₂ increased by about 35ppm, so there should be about a 5% decrease in nutrient density. According to the meta-study, rats increased their calorie intake by roughly 6%.
¹ Caveat: Allison is a notorious "PR scientist" whose career has been made out of helping the fast- and processed- food industries deflect any blame or accountability for the health and safety of their "products." The hypothesis of the paper is that the obesity epidemic is being caused by viruses and pollutants (without offering any evidence), and has nothing to do with McDonald's. This "viruses and pollutants" fairy tale can then be used as a deflection in fast-food PR and expert testimony in class-action lawsuits and government investigations.
Is there any evidence of wild animals living far from humans getting fat as well?
If the latter are not affected, it would be reasonable to think that the former are fat because they are exposed to human junk food.
Junk food itself is a natural consequence of a food sector that has to grow in order to please its investors. Sell as much food as possible to whoever will buy it.
It can't shove food down people's mouth, but it can produce food that's deceptively tasty and manipulate our instincts.
There is a paper from 2010 about obesity in marmots: https://www.nature.com/news/2010/100721/full/news.2010.366.h...
"Feral rats. Our sample consisted of 6115 (2886 males, 3229 females) wild Norway rats (Rattus norvegicus) that were captured in the central alleys of high-density residential neighbourhoods using single-capture live traps, while rural rat populations were sampled from parklands and agricultural areas in areas surrounding the city [12,13], between the years 1948 and 2006."
I can't cross-check the methodological validity since neither articles are available online (the second one appears to be, but if you follow the links you end up with a n unrelated 1975 article on beach voles :-). No info is given on the distance between the traps and human habitations.
Also, no idea on how comparable the sample from 1949 is with the one from 1989. They were not written by the same authors, and the 1989 authors don't cite the 1949 paper (https://scholar.google.com/scholar?cites=1484756086713821658...).
Had they compared rodent populations from places that the obesity epidemics has yet to reach (read: poor countries), it would be more convincing.
For marmots, the proposed hypothesis was that the longer summers let them eat more food and shortens the hibernation period during which they usually lose weight.
If you want to know whether atmospheric CO2 has an impact on rodent weight, you can devise a controlled experiment where they live in, and are fed with plants grown in controlled atmospheres. No idea if such a study has been performed.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W4oEM0W6mhM (possibly NSFW/L)
(I don't think we can fix this problem in nature by feeding zoo plankton vegemite btw)
Fortunately we’d never make the same mistakes today! Heh...
Iron toxicity is also a problem in many places, as the excess iron replaces other metals, especially manganese. Many diseases associated with aging are actually caused by this excess and may have nothing to do with aging at all. Many people are mentally retarded because of irresponsible attempts to increase intake despite inadequate research. (Iron increases the number of D2 and D1 dopamine receptors in the brain, which makes them psychotic, people who don't suffer from this are told to have "high functioning autism". The supposedly neuroptypical people are people who suffer from thought insertions - they can see you're lying, mean something else than what you say etc. and apparently accept it as perfectly normal that each of them interprets the same situation differently. They also hear voices and call it their inner monologue.)
These replacements are the reason why the deficiencies are hard to notice - the protein will usually accept some other metal when the appropriate metal ion is not found, so that the protein may be known to bind to e.g. calcium, when a rare earth element would be preferable.
The majority of people outside the US/Europe seems to be autistic, that is, not psychotic. Many autistic people found out they are normal in Asia.
It seems to me that it is nearly impossible that this form would be naturally selected, unless current levels of dietary iron were always common and are therefore not excessive to begin with.
Thanks for your answer, that's an interesting way to look at it! And certainly no one brain type is 'right' or 'wrong', they just work best in different environments.
I'm not sure about your perception about the prevalence of autism outside of the USA and Europe. This list suggests rates inside the U.S. are higher than basically anywhere else, although diagnosis might be different in other countries: https://www.worldatlas.com/articles/countries-with-the-highe...
I know a fairly large number of people from various Asian countries and none of them display what I'd consider typical autistic traits. I must admit I haven't asked any of them about inner monologues.
I know how it sounds, but that is the best explanation I have.
Place microphone phased arrays in a loud club, to see if people actually understand each other, or if they hallucinate most of what others say.
Use the same shot of an actor cut in in different contexts, to test if people can accurately see the expression, or if they making it up based on what they know otherwise.
Keeping a variety of unsalted tree nuts and seeds nearby to conveniently snack on is good as well.
For B12 in particular, it appears Shiitake and Lion's Mane mushrooms are best. They're not competitive with animal B12 sources, but every bit helps and mushrooms don't add much in the way of calories to a diet.
Personally I consume canned wild, unsalted sardines in water fairly regularly for Omega-3s and B12 specifically. They're small and have a short lifespan, which is desirable for a variety of reasons with seafood. i.e. Low on the food chain, and less time spent in a potentially toxic environment accumulating nasties like mercury. Sardines are considered a sustainable superfood by many. It's way better nutritionally than tuna, you eat the whole fish, even the bones.
Interestingly, the B12 people get from animals is probably from supplements they were given.
A similarly surprising fact is the Omega-3 fatty acid actually comes from algae the fish eat. As a result there are vegan-friendly algae-derived supplements as an alternative to the popular fish oil ones.
On a brief vegetarian experiment I used a methylcobalamin sublingual B12 supplement, but it had strange and totally unique side effects. After a week of daily use, and this was consistently reproducible, my neck would become very stiff and painful to turn. I don't know why, but it didn't take much of a leap for me to connect this stuff diffusing into my system from under my tongue and the surrounding neck tissue being effected. I find it preferable to just eat sardines regularly.
Some of the better brands like what's found at Whole Foods here in CA will even include a notice on the package about not draining the liquid. The Henry & Lisa's stuff  in water is quite good, but can be relatively pricy.
Key here is beneficial bacteria and fungi, which a lot of our foods are increasingly poor in.
Molds (Fungi) and Bacteria are something Humans have been at war against with their cleaning and pesticides for decades...
Phytoplankton eat bacteria, correct?
Most published research are rather diplomatic about this phenomenon. However, reading between the lines, the reason appears to be the lack of fecal and insect contamination in food supply, which accidentally eliminated a lot of exogenous micronutrients not present in plants.
I also wonder to what extent thiamine is recycled in nature, apart from thiaminases, if an predator high up the food chain dies and floats/sinks in the sea, will all the accumulated thiamin be recycled? in what pathways is thiamine consumed in say a human? what would increase or decrease the metabolic consumption (not eating) of thiamine?
>Thiamine in foods can be degraded in a variety of ways. Sulfites, which are added to foods usually as a preservative, will attack thiamine at the methylene bridge in the structure, cleaving the pyrimidine ring from the thiazole ring. The rate of this reaction is increased under acidic conditions. Thiamine is degraded by thermolabile thiaminases (present in raw fish and shellfish). Some thiaminases are produced by bacteria. Bacterial thiaminases are cell surface enzymes that must dissociate from the membrane before being activated; the dissociation can occur in ruminants under acidotic conditions. Rumen bacteria also reduce sulfate to sulfite, therefore high dietary intakes of sulfate can have thiamine-antagonistic activities.
Is this perhaps due to sulfate pollution (bunker oil?) and acidification of the oceans?
No, phytoplankton are basically microscopic plants, they don't eat anything per se, they are autotrophs which use inorganic substances in the environment and get their energy from sunlight.
Aren't the beneficial bacteria and fungi that are meant to inhabit our own guts supposed to be enough?
“We found that thiamine deficiency is much more widespread and severe than previously thought,” Balk says. Given its scope, he suggests that a pervasive thiamine deficiency could be at least partly responsible for global wildlife population declines. Over a 60-year period up to 2010, for example, worldwide seabird populations declined by approximately 70%, and globally, species are being lost 1,000 times faster than the natural rate of extinction (9, 10). “He has seen a thiamine deficiency in several differ phyla now,” says Fitzsimons of Balk. “One wonders what is going on. It’s a larger issue than we first suspected.”
Balk fears that a single pervasive factor, such as an atmospheric pollutant, may be depleting the environment of thiamine at its sources, including phytoplankton and bacteria, affecting the entire food chain. To see how far the problem reaches, he is now looking at upstream terrestrial wildlife such as elk (Alces alces). Balk is also investigating whether any of several pollutants might interfere with the oxidation, hydrolysis, or synthesis of thiamine.
Sañudo-Wilhelmy has measured very low levels of B vitamins, including thiamine, in coastal waters around California. Other researchers have estimated similar scarcities in some areas of the open ocean (16). Warming waters due to climate change could explain the seawater vitamin scarcity, he says. Warmer temperatures speed bacterial growth, making the microbes consume more B vitamins than they produce—gobbling up the vitamins before the phytoplankton can take their share.
All are couched with the fact that more research is necessary into the cause or causes.
For example a lot of coral is dying and most researchers suggest this is due to rising temperatures. But now some new research suggests that coral can handle the change in temperature but they die because they eat to much plastic particles.
Both can be true but the fact is we should be more carefull about our world because we just know too little about how all systems work together.
Dunno... Incorrect temperature kills a lot of captive corals, even at small variations. Is a diverse group and some are harder to kill than other. On the other hand, Cnidarians taste their food and reject often small stones and sand grains. Probably many types of plastic particles (if not all) would be just taken by a small peeble and ignorated. Cnidarians loose interest quickly when you touch its tentacles with an inert matherial.
The perverse effect is that the invasive species has an advantage in that its predator suffers, so plausibly the birds will prefer their usual food if possible, which increases the concentration of the invasive fish...
even within just the Great Lakes, this does not mean the invasive fish were necessarily the cause, in turn they may have been the result, perhaps the native fish were more dependent on thiamine than the invasive fish, and the thiamine deficiency maybe present at a lower level still say due to perhaps a change in whatever food is available to fish like plankton, plants, etc
but it does suggest a relatively cheap test for those studying the other populations: try administering B1 or other nutrients since substantial improvement by essential nutrients is hard to explain by a more complicated poisoning mechanism. I.e. if for some other species a similarly significant effect is observed in controlled correlation to some vitamin, then it's probably more significant than poisoning, i.e. we can't cure poisoning by administering vitamins. One could think that by feeding them in a new environment the animals were unknowingly spared from continuing poisoning, but that does not explain why the control group died (unless they claim Balk & co intentionally poisoned the control group of course)
Hum, this does not look right
I don't have information about the authors experience as fish pathologists, but I would expect to see a mention to Myxobolus cerebralis somewhere if you have young salmonidae with erratic swimming.