It has been postulated that oxidative stress may play a key role in dementia. This is substantiated by the recent discovery of the protective effect of wine. In wine, the flavonoids--powerful antioxidant substances also contained in tea, fruits and vegetables--have been thought to offer such protection. We investigated whether flavonoid intake could be associated with a lower incidence of dementia in a cohort of 1367 subjects above 65 years of age (Paquid). A questionnaire was used to evaluate their intake of flavonoids and subjects were followed-up for 5 years between 1991 and 1996: 66 incident cases of dementia were observed. We estimated the relative risk (RR) of dementia according to tertiles of flavonoid intake using a Cox model. The age-adjusted RR of dementia was 0.55 for the two highest tertiles compared to the lowest (95% CI: 0.34-0.90; p = 0.02). After additional adjustment for gender, education, weight and vitamin C intake, the RR was 0.49 (95% CI: 0.26-0.92; p = 0.04). We conclude that the intake of antioxidant flavonoids is inversely related to the risk of incident dementia.