The anatomical distribution of pathological changes in Alzheimer's disease, although highly selective for only certain brain areas, can be widespread at the endstage of the illness and can affect many neural systems. Propriety for onset among these is a question of importance for clues to the etiology of the disease, but one that is formidable without an experimental animal model. The entorhinal cortex (Brodmann's area 28) of the ventromedial temporal lobe is an invariant focus of pathology in all cases of Alzheimer's disease with selective changes that alter some layers more than others. The authors' findings reveal that it is the most heavily damaged cortex in Alzheimer's disease. Neuroanatomical studies in higher mammals reveal that the entorhinal cortex gives rise to axons that interconnect the hippocampal formation bidirectionally with the rest of the cortex. Their destruction in Alzheimer's disease could play a prominent role in the memory deficits that herald the onset of Alzheimer's disease and that characterize it throughout its course.