Background: There is growing evidence for extramotor dysfunction (EMd) in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), with a reported prevalence of up to 52%. Objective: In the present study, we explore the clinical utility of a brief neuropsychological battery for the investigation of cognitive, behavioral, and language deficits in patients with ALS. Methods: Thirty-four consecutive ALS patients aged 44-89 years were tested with a brief neuropsychological battery, including executive, behavioral, and language measures. Patients were initially classified as EMd or non-EMd based on their scores on the frontal assessment battery (FAB). Results: Between-group comparisons revealed significant differences in all measures (p < 0.01). Discriminant analysis resulted in a single canonical function, with all tests serving as significant predictors. This function agreed with the FAB in 13 of 17 patients screened as EMd and identified extramotor deficits in 2 additional patients. Overall sensitivity and specificity estimates against FAB were 88.2%. Conclusions: We stress the importance of discriminant function analysis in clinical neuropsychological assessment and argue that the proposed neuropsychological battery may be of clinical value, especially when the option of extensive and comprehensive neuropsychological testing is limited. The psychometric validity of an ALS-frontotemporal dementia diagnosis using neuropsychological tests is also discussed.

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