Three hundred forty-two subjects underwent 428 research lumbar punctures for studies of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) biomarkers. Subjects were 67 Alzheimer disease or mild cognitive impairment (AD/MCI) patients and 275 cognitively normal adults aged 21 to 88. Lumbar puncture was performed in the lateral decubitus or sitting position using the Sprotte 24 g atraumatic spinal needle. Up to 34 ml of cerebrospinal fluid were collected. Anxiety and pain experienced during lumbar puncture were rated on a visual analog scale. The frequency of any adverse event (11.7%), clinically significant adverse events (3.97%), and typical post-lumbar puncture headache (PLPHA) (0.93%) was low. Risk of post-lumbar puncture headache was unrelated to age, gender, position during lumbar puncture, ml of cerebrospinal fluid collected, or minutes of recumbent rest following lumbar puncture. The frequency of post-lumbar puncture headache was lower in AD/MCI (P = 0.03) than any other subject group. Anxiety and pain ratings were low. Younger subjects reported more anxiety than old (P = 0.001) and AD/MCI subjects (P = 0.008) and more pain than older normal subjects (P = 0.013). Pain ratings for women were higher than those for men (P = 0.006). Using the Sprotte 24 g spinal needle, research lumbar puncture can be performed with a very low rate of clinically significant adverse events and with good acceptability in cognitively impaired persons and cognitively normal adults of all ages.