A neurophysiological analysis of working memory in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis

Anke Hammer, Stefan Vielhaber, Antoni Rodriguez-Fornells, Bahram Mohammadi, Thomas F. Münte*

*Corresponding author for this work
15 Citations (Scopus)


Frontal lobe functions, in particular working memory (WM) and verbal fluency, have been found to be deficient in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). To study the neural correlates of WM-impairment, ALS patients and healthy age-matched controls were subjected to two working memory tasks following the 2-back paradigm, one requiring the storage of figural information, the other storage of spatial information. A significant proportion of ALS patients were unable to perform the WM-tasks. Those who could showed worse performance in the spatial task than the controls. Event-related brain potentials recorded during the task revealed a topographical change of the working memory effect in the ALS patients. Thus, behavioral and electrophysiological data suggest an alteration of working memory, in particular for spatial information, in ALS. Additionally, the patients also took part in two Go/Nogo tasks (spatial, figural) using the same stimulus material but defining targets prior to the experiment instead of a working memory manipulation. Here, an anteriorization of the nogo-P3 was found which has been established as an index of impaired inhibitory functions.

Original languageEnglish
JournalBrain Research
Pages (from-to)90-99
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - 03.11.2011


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