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Frontal Assessment Battery to Evaluate Frontal Lobe Dysfunction in ALS Patients

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  02 December 2014

Suk-Won Ahn
Department of Neurology, Chung-Ang University Hospital, Chung-Ang University College of Medicine
Su-Hyun Kim
Department of Neurology, Seoul National University Hospital Department of Neurology, Hanyang University College of Medicine, Seoul, Republic of Korea
Jee-Eun Kim
Department of Neurology, Seoul National University Hospital
Sung-Min Kim
Department of Neurology, Seoul National University Hospital
Seung Hyun Kim
Department of Neurology, Chung-Ang University Hospital, Chung-Ang University College of Medicine
Jung-Joon Sung
Department of Neurology, Seoul National University Hospital
Kwang-Woo Lee
Department of Neurology, Seoul National University Hospital
Yoon-Ho Hong*
Department of Neurology, Boramae Medical Center, Seoul National University College of Medicine
Department of Neurology, Boramae Medical Center, Seoul National University College of Medicine, 425 Sindaebang-dong, Dongjak-gu, Seoul, 156-707, Republic of Korea
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Assessment of frontal lobe impairment in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a matter of great importance, since it often causes ALS patients to decrease medication and nursing compliance, thus shortening their survival time.


The frontal assessment battery (FAB) is a short and rapid method for assessing frontal executive functions. We investigated the applicability of the FAB as a screening method for assessing cognitive impairments in 61 ALS patients. Depending on the results of the FAB, we classified patients into two subgroups: FAB-normal and FAB-abnormal. We then performed additional evaluations of cognitive function using the Korean version of the mini-mental state examination (K-MMSE), a verbal fluency test (COWAT), and a neuropsychiatric inventory (NPI). Results of these tests were compared between the two groups using Mann-Whitney U-tests, and Spearman correlation analyses were used to investigate the relationships between FAB score and disease duration and severity.


Of the 61 sporadic ALS patients included in this study, 14 were classified as FAB-abnormal and 47 were classified as FAB-normal. The FAB-normal and FAB-abnormal patients performed significantly differently in all domains of the COWAT. There was no difference in behavioral disturbance, as assessed by the NPI, between the two groups. The FAB scores were found to significantly correlate with both disease duration and severity.


The FAB shows promise as a method of screening for frontal lobe dysfunction in ALS, as it is not only quick and easy, but also reliable. Additional studies should examine how FAB performance changes as ALS progresses.

Original Article
Copyright © The Canadian Journal of Neurological 2011


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