Cognition, language, and speech in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis: a review

J Clin Exp Neuropsychol. 1996 Apr;18(2):291-303. doi: 10.1080/01688639608408283.


Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a progressive, adult-onset neurodegenerative disorder manifesting as a relentless loss of motor capabilities and, ultimately, death. Traditionally thought to affect solely the lower motor neurons and corticospinal tracts, recent studies suggest that the pathogenic process of ALS is more extensive, involving dysfunction of cortical grey and white matter with clinical correlates of impairment in cognition and language. The impact of speech and motor deficits are discussed in relation to the issues of assessment of cognition and language. Three case studies are presented for illustrative purposes. Finally, direction for future research to investigate cognitive dysfunction in ALS are presented.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis / diagnosis*
  • Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis / physiopathology
  • Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis / psychology
  • Anterior Horn Cells / physiology
  • Brain Mapping
  • Cerebral Cortex / physiopathology
  • Cognition Disorders / diagnosis*
  • Cognition Disorders / physiopathology
  • Cognition Disorders / psychology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Language Disorders / diagnosis*
  • Language Disorders / physiopathology
  • Language Disorders / psychology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Speech Disorders / diagnosis*
  • Speech Disorders / physiopathology
  • Speech Disorders / psychology
  • Spinal Cord / physiopathology