In this study the regional cerebral glucose utilization and the neuropsychological performance of patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) was investigated. Special attention was given to neuropsychological tests thought to mirror frontal lobe dysfunction. The regional cerebral glucose utilization was studied in 18 patients using high-resolution positron emission tomography. Clinically all patients displayed upper and lower motor neurone signs. In ALS patients glucose metabolism was significantly reduced in the frontal and in the entire cortex compared with controls; no changes were seen in the cerebellum. Comprehensive neuropsychological assessment of ALS patients compared to a pair matched control group revealed mild frontal dysfunction which in part significantly correlated with reduced glucose metabolism in the cortex and subcortical structures. We conclude that in patients with ALS, glucose consumption is decreased in parts of the brain other than the motor cortex accompanied by mild neuropsychological deficits based on the tests employed in this study.