To document the degree of thiamine deficiency and associated impairment for Indigenous and non-Indigenous patients in Alice Springs and examine the degree and continuum of recovery following IV thiamine replacement therapy. 


Alcohol dependence is a significant cause of morbidity and mortality among Indigenous and non-Indigenous Territorians. Alcohol rapidly reduces thiamine levels among alcoholics, resulting in cognitive dysfunction and behavioural issues.

Thiamine is a vital substrate enabling brain cell utilisation of glucose facilitating cognitive function. Appropriate, timely replenishment of thiamine is considered crucial to minimise brain injury. However, no research to date has correlated specific blood thiamine levels with changes in clinical state. Quantification of thiamine deficiency and brain impairment will provide an evidence base for the rehabilitative effects of thiamine treatment.

Chief investigator:
Contact information:

Email Associate Professor Kylie Dingwall.

Project dates:


  • NT Research and Innovation Board. 
  • Alice Springs Hospital.
  1. Dingwall, K.M., Delima, J.F., Gent, D., Batey, R.G. (2015). Hypomagnesaemia and its potential impact on thiamine utilisation in patients with alcohol misuse at the Alice Springs Hospital. Drug and Alchol Review34, 323-8. 

  2. Dingwall, K.M., Pinkerton, J., & Lindeman, M.A. (2013). People like numbers: a descriptive study of cognitive assessment methods in clinical practice for Aboriginal Australians in the Northern Territory. BMC Psychiatry, 13(42), 13.

  3. Dingwall, K.M., Maruff, P., & Cairney, S. (2011). Similar profile of cognitive impairment and recovery for Aboriginal Australians in treatment for episodic or chronic alcohol use. Addiction, 106(8), 1419-1426.