The Consortium to Establish a Registry for Alzheimer's Disease (CERAD) has developed brief, comprehensive, and reliable batteries of clinical and neuropsychological tests for assessment of patients with the clinical diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease (AD). We administered these batteries in a standardized manner to more than 350 subjects with a diagnosis of AD and 275 control subjects who were enrolled in a nationwide registry by a consortium of 16 university medical centers. The tests selected for this study measured the primary cognitive manifestations of AD across a range of severity of the disorder, and discriminated between normal subjects and those with mild and moderate dementia. The batteries also detected deterioration of language, memory, praxis, and general intellectual status in subjects returning for reassessment 1 year later. Interrater and test-retest reliabilities were substantial. Long-term observations of this cohort are in progress in an effort to validate the clinical and neuropsychological assessments and to confirm the diagnosis by postmortem examinations. Although information on validation is limited thus far, the CERAD batteries appear to fill a need for a standardized, easily administered, and reliable instrument for evaluating persons with AD in multicenter research studies as well as in clinical practice.