The Frontal Behavioral Battery: A Measure of Frontal Lobe Symptoms in Brain Aging and Neurodegenerative Disease

James E. Galvin, Iris Cohen, Keri K. Greenfield, Marcia Walker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Approximately 90%of persons living with dementia experience behavioral symptoms, including frontal lobe features involving motivation, planning, social behavior, language, personality, mood, swallowing, and gait. Objective: We conducted a two-stage study with a development sample (n=586) and validation sample (n=274) to evaluate a brief informant-rated measure of non-cognitive features of frontal lobe dysfunction: the Frontal Behavioral Battery (FBB). Methods: In the development sample, internal consistency, principal factor analysis, and correlations between the FBB and outcomes were evaluated. In the validation sample, we examined (a) FBB scores by diagnosis, (b) known-group validity by demographics, subjective complaints, and dementia staging, and (c) correlation between FBB and MRI volumes. Receiver operator characteristic curves assessed the ability of the FBB to discriminate individuals with frontal lobe features due to a neurodegenerative disease. Results: The FBB characterized 11 distinct frontal lobe features. Individuals with dementia with Lewy bodies and frontotemporal degeneration had the greatest number of frontal lobe features. Premorbid personality traits of extroversion, agreeableness, and openness were associated with fewer frontal lobe behavioral symptoms, while subjective cognitive complaints were associated with greater symptoms. The FBB provided very good discrimination between individuals with and without cognitive impairment (diagnostic odds ratio: 13.1) and between individuals with and without prominent frontal lobe symptoms (diagnostic odds ratio: 84.8). Conclusion: The FBB may serve as an effective and efficient method to assess the presence of non-cognitive symptoms associated with frontal lobe dysfunction, but in a brief fashion that could facilitate its use in clinical care and research.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)721-739
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Alzheimer's Disease
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2021


  • Alzheimer's disease
  • behavior
  • dementia
  • dementia with lewy bodies
  • frontal lobe
  • frontotemporal degeneration
  • mild cognitive impairment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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