Assessment of frontal lobe functions.
The authors describe methods for conducting a thorough assessment of functions subserved by the frontal lobes, employing both bedside and psychometric methods of assessing frontal subsystems. Qualitative or process aspects of frontal behavior observable from formal testing, interview, and social behavior are noted. It is argued that the skilled clinician must be guided by a knowledge of frontal lobe subsystems and their roles in determining specific types of abnormal behavior. The clinician will then be alert to changes in incidental behaviors that indicate frontal impairment, and bedside maneuvers can be designed to discriminate dysfunction. Given the complexity of the behaviors involved and the profound effects of maturation and aging on frontal functions, neuropsychological assessment can provide an invaluable tool for testing these functions.