INECO Frontal Screening (IFS): a brief, sensitive, and specific tool to assess executive functions in dementia

J Int Neuropsychol Soc. 2009 Sep;15(5):777-86. doi: 10.1017/S1355617709990415. Epub 2009 Jul 28.


Although several brief sensitive screening tools are available to detect cognitive dysfunction, few have been developed to quickly assess executive functioning (EF) per se. We designed a new brief tool to evaluate EF in neurodegenerative diseases. Patients with an established diagnosis of behavioral variant frontotemporal dementia (bvFTD; n = 22), Alzheimer disease (AD; n = 25), and controls (n = 26) were assessed with a cognitive screening test, the INECO Frontal Screening (IFS), and EF tests. Clinical Dementia Rating Scale (CDR) scores were obtained for all patients. Internal consistency of the IFS was very good (Cronbach's alpha = .80). IFS total (out of 30 points) was 27.4 (SD = 1.6) for controls, 15.6 (SD = 4.2) for bvFTD, and 20.1 (SD = 4.7) for AD. Using a cutoff of 25 points, sensitivity of the IFS was 96.2%, and specificity 91.5% in differentiating controls from patients with dementia. The IFS correlated significantly with the CDR and executive tasks. The IFS total discriminated controls from demented patients, and bvFTD from AD. IFS is a brief, sensitive, and specific tool for the detection of executive dysfunction associated with neurodegenerative diseases. The IFS may be helpful in the differential diagnosis of FTD and AD.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Alzheimer Disease / complications
  • Alzheimer Disease / diagnosis
  • Cognition Disorders / diagnosis*
  • Cognition Disorders / etiology*
  • Dementia / complications*
  • Dementia / diagnosis
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Neuropsychological Tests*
  • Problem Solving / physiology*
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales
  • Sensitivity and Specificity