Regional cerebral perfusion was evaluated by single photon emission computed tomography (SPET) using technetium 99m hexamethylpropylene amine oxime (99mTc-HMPAO) as a tracer, in 13 control subjects and 44 age-matched patients suffering from dementia of the Alzheimer's type (DAT, n = 19), presumed Pick's disease (n = 5), idiopathic Parkinson's disease with dementia (DPD, n = 15) and progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP, n = 5). HMPAO uptake was measured in the superior frontal, inferior frontal, parietal, temporal and occipital cortices, and the perfusion values were expressed as cortical/cerebellar activity ratios. As compared with controls, tracer uptake ratios in the DAT group were significantly reduced over all cortical regions, with the largest defects in the parieto-temporal and superior frontal cortices. A marked hypoperfusion affecting the superior and inferior frontal cortices was found in Pick's disease, whereas a mild but significant hypoperfusion was observed only in the superior frontal cortex of patients with PSP. In the DPD group, HMPAO uptake was significantly reduced in the parietal, temporal and occipital cortices, but not in the frontal cortex. These results show that DAT and DPD share an opposite anteroposterior HMPAO uptake defect as compared with the Pick's and PSP groups.