Specific numerical processing impairment in ALS patients

Arianna Palmieri, Gianni Sorarù, Carla D'Ascenzo, Silvia Balestreri, Giorgio Arcara, Mario Ermani, Elena Pegoraro, Carlo Semenza

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


The present study investigated for the first time numerical processing in sporadic amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) patients. Twenty-four non-demented patients affected by probable or definite ALS and 27 healthy controls underwent cognitive assessment. Numerical abilities (Number Comprehension, Number Transcoding, Arithmetic Fact retrieval, Calculation Skills and Arithmetic Principles) and neuropsychological functions were evaluated in accordance with Strong's consensus criteria. Clear group differences between the patients and controls were found in Multiplication Facts (Tables), Multiplication Approximation, and Multiplication Principles. These deficits were not statistically related to impairments of more general cognitive functioning. In conclusion, specific, previously unreported arithmetical deficits have been found in ALS patients. This particular impairment pattern could be indicative of damage to the cortico-subcortical circuits involved in some specific aspects of multiplication. Our findings could contribute to further delineate the profile of cognitive impairment in ALS.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6-12
Number of pages7
JournalAmyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis and Frontotemporal Degeneration
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2013



  • ALS
  • Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
  • Calculation
  • Numerical processing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Neurology

Cite this

Palmieri, A., Sorarù, G., D'Ascenzo, C., Balestreri, S., Arcara, G., Ermani, M., Pegoraro, E., & Semenza, C. (2013). Specific numerical processing impairment in ALS patients. Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis and Frontotemporal Degeneration, 14(1), 6-12. https://doi.org/10.3109/17482968.2012.719235