Objective: Reliable assessment of cognitive functions is a challenging task in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) patients unable to speak and write. We therefore present an eye-tracking based neuropsychological screening tool based on the Edinburgh Cognitive and Behavioural ALS Screen (ECAS), a standard screening tool for cognitive deficits in ALS.
Methods: In total, 46 ALS patients and 50 healthy controls matched for age, gender and education were tested with an oculomotor based and a standard paper-and-pencil version of the ECAS.
Results: Significant correlation between both versions was observed for ALS patients and healthy controls in the ECAS total score and in all of its ALS-specific domains (all r > 0.3; all p < 0.05). The eye-tracking version of the ECAS reliably distinguished between ALS patients and healthy controls in the ECAS total score (p < 0.05). Also, cognitively impaired and non-impaired patients could be reliably distinguished with a specificity of 95%.
Conclusion: This study provides first evidence that the eye-tracking based ECAS version is a promising approach for assessing cognitive deficits in ALS patients who are unable to speak or write.
- Edinburgh Cognitive and Behavioural ALS Screen
- Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis
- Motor Neuron Disease