Neurol Sci. 2023 Dec 18. doi: 10.1007/s10072-023-07262-1. Online ahead of print.
BACKGROUND: Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) can present with either bulbar or spinal symptoms, and in some cases, both types of symptoms may be present. In addition, cognitive impairment has been observed in ALS. The study aimed to evaluate the frontal and general cognitive performance in ALS not only cross-sectionally but also longitudinally.
METHODS AND MATERIALS: The Frontal Assessment Battery (FAB) and the Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MoCA) were employed to assess cognitive function in 52 adults with ALS and 52 cognitively healthy individuals. The statistical analyses encompassed the Pearson Chi square test, the Skillings-Mack test, the Spearman’s rank correlation coefficient, and the Proportional Odds Logistic Regression Model (POLR).
RESULTS: Cross-sectionally, lower cognitive performance was associated with ALS diagnosis, older age, and motor functional decline. The cognitive impairment of individuals with bulbar and spinal-bulbar symptoms showed faster deterioration compared to those with spinal symptoms. The spinal subgroup consistently performed worst in delayed recall and attention, while the spinal-bulbar and bulbar subgroups exhibited inferior scores in delayed recall, attention, visuospatial skills, orientation, and verbal fluency.
CONCLUSION: The incorporation of cognitive screening in the diagnostic workup of ALS may be beneficial, as early detection can enhance symptom management and improve the quality of life for both individuals with ALS and their care partners.