Inside minds, beneath diseases: Social cognition in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis-frontotemporal spectrum disorder

Patricia Lillo, Paulo Caramelli, Gada Musa, Teresa Parrao, Ricardo Hughes, Andres Aragon, Daniel Valenzuela, Gabriel Cea, Rafael Aranguiz, Henrique Cerqueira Guimaraes, Laura Rousseff, Leandro Boson Gambogi, Luciano Inacio Mariano, Antonio Lucio Teixeira, Andrea Slachevsky, Leonardo Cruz De Souza

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Objective To compare social cognition performance between patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and those patients with behavioural variant frontotemporal dementia (bvFTD). Methods We included 21 participants with ALS, 20 with bvFTD and 21 healthy controls who underwent a comprehensive cognitive battery, including the short version of the Social Cognition and Emotional Assessment (Mini-SEA), which comprises the faux pas test and Facial Emotion Recognition Test (FERT); Mini-Mental State Examination; Frontal Assessment Battery; lexical fluency (F-A-S), category fluency (animals/minute), digit span (direct and backwards) tests and the Hayling test. A post hoc analysis was conducted with the patients with ALS divided into two subgroups: patients without cognitive impairment (ALScn; n=13) and patients with cognitive impairment (ALSci; n=8). Results No significant difference was noted between participant groups in terms of the age, sex and education. ALS-total group and patients with bvFTD had similar disease durations. Patients with ALSci performed poorly when compared with controls with regard to the FERT (p<0.001), the faux pas (p<0.004) and the Mini-SEA (p<0.002) total scores. Moreover, patients with bvFTD performed poorly in comparison with controls in executive and social cognition tests. The performance of patients with ALSci was similar to that of patients with bvFTD, while the performance of patients with ALScn was similar to that of controls. Discussion Our findings support a cognitive continuum between ALS and bvFTD and shed light on the cognitive heterogeneity of ALS, expanding its possible neuropsychological profiles.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1279-1282
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Neurology, Neurosurgery and Psychiatry
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 1 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • ALS
  • cognition
  • frontotemporal dementia
  • motor neuron disease

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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