Consecutive patients from a dementia case register received a standardised evaluation which incorporated a neuropsychological assessment with the Cambridge Assessment for disorders in the elderly (CAMCOG). Operationalised clinical diagnoses were made (consensus criteria for dementia with Lewy bodies, DLB; NINCDS- ADRDA for Alzheimer's disease, AD, NINCDS AIRENS for vascular dementia, VaD). Two-hundred and twenty-eight patients were studied (DLB 54, AD102, VaD 72). DLB patients had significantly better performance on recent memory than AD patients, but more impaired visuospatial praxis. DLB patients also had significantly better recent memory than those with VaD. Optimal cut-off points for the recent memory:praxis ratio achieved good discrimination between DLB and both other dementias.