Selective attention is impaired in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis - A study of event-related EEG potentials

P. Vieregge*, B. Wauschkuhn, I. Heberlein, J. Hagenah, R. Verleger

*Corresponding author for this work
51 Citations (Scopus)


In humans, selective attention is assumed to be under control of the frontal lobe. A significant proportion of patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) shows impairments in various tasks touching frontal lobe function. We, therefore, undertook a study of event-related EEG potentials (ERPs) in eight non-demented ALS patients in order to investigate a possible deficit of auditory selective attention: tones were presented in random sequence to the left or right ear, one of which was to be attended. The negative shift of the ERPs evoked by attended tones in relation to unattended tones ('processing negativity': PN) was smaller in ALS patients than in age- matched healthy control persons. This was true for Fz and Cz and for both a slow and a fast presentation rate of the tones. In the patients, reduced PN amplitude correlated with functional motor impairment. The utility of ERP testing to assess impaired frontal lobe function is shown for the first time in ALS patients. The results of our study fit to recent positron emission tomography (PET) and fMRI data.

Original languageEnglish
JournalCognitive Brain Research
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)27-35
Number of pages9
Publication statusPublished - 01.05.1999

Research Areas and Centers

  • Academic Focus: Center for Brain, Behavior and Metabolism (CBBM)


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