Elderly Cambridge residents diagnosed as demented using the Cambridge Mental Disorders of the Elderly Examination (CAMDEX) were reviewed approximately 12 months later. Diagnoses were confirmed in 133 of 137 surviving cases (97%). Subjects said to have minimal dementia (cognitive impairment insufficient to warrant a diagnosis of dementia proper) had a varied outcome. Only 6 out of 29 survivors showed progressive intellectual deterioration and 13 were reclassified as normal. Subjects passed as normal in the first year of the study were reviewed using the Mini-Mental State Examination. We cannot be certain how many were actually dementing, but our findings suggest that only a small number of false negative diagnoses were made in the first year of the study.