Cognitive assessment in Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis by means of P300-Brain Computer Interface: a preliminary study

Barbara Poletti, Laura Carelli, Federica Solca, Annalisa Lafronza, Elisa Pedroli, Andrea Faini, Stefano Zago, Nicola Ticozzi, Paolo Meriggi, Pietro Cipresso, Dorothee Lule, Albert C. Ludolph, Giuseppe Riva, Vincenzo Silani

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: To investigate the use of P300-based Brain Computer Interface (BCI) technology for the administration of motor-verbal free cognitive tests in Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS). Methods: We recruited 15 ALS patients and 15 age- and education-matched healthy subjects. All participants underwent a BCI-based neuropsychological assessment, together with two standard cognitive screening tools (FAB, MoCA), two psychological questionnaires (BDI, STAI-Y) and a usability questionnaire. For patients, clinical and respiratory examinations were also performed, together with a behavioural assessment (FBI). Results: Correlations were observed between standard cognitive and BCI-based neuropsychological assessment, mainly concerning execution times in the ALS group. Moreover, patients provided positive rates concerning the BCI perceived usability and subjective experience. Finally, execution times at the BCI-based neuropsychological assessment were useful to discriminate patients from controls, with patients achieving lower processing speed than controls regarding executive functions. Conclusions: The developed motor-verbal free neuropsychological battery represents an innovative approach, that could provide relevant information for clinical practice and ethical issues. Its use for cognitive evaluation throughout the course of ALS, currently not available by means of standard assessment, must be addressed in further longitudinal validation studies. Further work will be aimed at refining the developed system and enlarging the cognitive spectrum investigated.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-9
Number of pages9
JournalAmyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis and Frontotemporal Degeneration
Publication statusAccepted/In press - May 11 2016


  • Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis
  • motor-verbal free cognitive assessment
  • P300 Brain Computer Interface

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Neurology


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