An eye-tracker controlled cognitive battery: overcoming verbal-motor limitations in ALS

Barbara Poletti, Laura Carelli, Federica Solca, Annalisa Lafronza, Elisa Pedroli, Andrea Faini, Nicola Ticozzi, Andrea Ciammola, Paolo Meriggi, Pietro Cipresso, Dorothée Lulé, Albert C. Ludolph, Giuseppe Riva, Vincenzo Silani

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


We assessed language, attention, executive, and social cognition abilities in a sample of patients with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) by means of a recently developed cognitive battery based on oculomotor control with eye-tracking (ET) technology. Twenty-one ALS patients and 21 age- and education-matched healthy subjects underwent the ET-based cognitive assessment, together with the standard cognitive screening tools [Frontal Assessment Battery (FAB); Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MoCA); and Digit Sequencing Task]. Psychological measures of anxiety (State-Trait Anxiety Inventory-Y) and depression (Beck Depression Inventory) were also collected, and an ET usability questionnaire was administered. For patients, clinical and respiratory examinations were also performed, together with behavioural assessment (Frontal Behavioural Inventory). The developed battery discriminated among patients and controls with regard to measures of verbal fluency, frontal abilities, and social cognition. Measures of diagnostic utility confirmed a higher diagnostic accuracy of such ET-based tests with respect to FAB; similar diagnostic accuracy emerged when comparing them to the other standard cognitive tools (MoCA, WM). Usability ratings about the ET tests were comparable among the two groups. The ET-based neuropsychological battery demonstrated good levels of diagnostic accuracy and usability in a clinical population of non-demented ALS patients, compared to matched healthy controls. Future studies will be aimed at further investigate validity and usability components by recruiting larger sample of patients, both in moderate-to-severe stages of the disease and affected by more severe cognitive impairment.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1136-1145
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Neurology
Publication statusPublished - 2017


  • Aged
  • Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis
  • Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
  • Attention
  • Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity
  • Behavioural assessment
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Cognition Disorders
  • Cognitive assessment
  • Eye Movements
  • Eye tracker
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neurology
  • Neurology (clinical)
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Oculomotor control
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales
  • Psychological Tests
  • ROC Curve
  • Verbal-motor limitations
  • Vital Capacity


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