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Editorial commentary
Executive dysfunction in ALS is not the whole story
  1. Sharon Abrahams
  1. Correspondence to Dr Sharon Abrahams, Institute of Psychiatry, Department of Psychology, 7 George Square, Edinburgh EH8 9JZ, UK; s.abrahams{at}

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It is well established that selective cognitive impairments may be present in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) patients who do not display a full blown frontotemporal dementia (FTD) syndrome.1 ,2 Over the last 20 years there has been a surge of publications demonstrating predominantly executive dysfunction and most recently social cognition deficits in these patients.3–5 This may be taken as evidence of potentially subclinical levels of FTD in this group, enhancing the link between the two disorders with the demonstration of a spectrum of cognitive dysfunction from ALS patients who only display motor involvement (ALS-motor) to those with dementia (ALS-FTD).

The Taylor et al 6 study makes a significant contribution to this field by highlighting the presence of language deficits in ALS patients without dementia, which although occasionally demonstrated for example,1 ,7 ,8 and certainly long suspected, is an area which has been relatively neglected. Previous investigations have often been …

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  • Competing interests SA receives research support from the Motor Neurone Disease Association, UK, MND Scotland, Silvia Aitken Charitable Trust and the University of Edinburgh. She has also received support from the Wellcome Trust, UK. She has received salary support from the University of Edinburgh and NHS Lothian and travel expenses and honoraria for speaking and education activities not funded by industry. The views expressed here are those of the author.

  • Provenance and peer review Commissioned; internally peer reviewed.

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