Basic mobility, balance, gait and dual-task performance were characterised in 140 consecutive subjects referred to a multidisciplinary university hospital in a geriatric setting for cognitive symptoms and possible dementia. After completion of an extensive diagnostic evaluation, subjects were classified into four diagnostic categories: no cognitive impairment, mild cognitive impairment, Alzheimer's disease (AD) and other dementia. Mean age was 57 +/- 9.2, 60 +/- 7.3, 68 +/- 9.9 and 64 +/- 10.5, respectively. Data on motor function, medication use and presence of white matter changes were evaluated and compared between the diagnostic groups. Motor function seems to be affected in very mild AD but not in mild cognitive impairment, as assessed with performance-based tests. AD subjects were slowed and had difficulties in dual-task performance requiring concurrently performing a cognitive task while walking.