Many efforts have been made to trace the causes of Alzheimer's disease (AD). There are, however, many points of controversy among reports from the same country as well as among reports from different countries. The current study is a case-control study to determine the risk factors in the development of AD in Greece. Sixty-five patients with AD and 69 age-matched controls were examined. All patients with AD fulfilled the DSM-IV criteria for AD and NINCDS-ADRDA criteria for probable AD. Demographic characteristics such as gender, current marital status, who he/she is living with, education, main place of residence in childhood, adulthood, and late life, occupational hazards, patient's medical history (history of diabetes mellitus and hypertension), life habits like alcohol consumption and smoking, and a history of head trauma, heart attack, stroke, parkinsonism, or depression were collected from the subject or from an informant. A family history of selected diseases (hypertension, diabetes mellitus, dementia, Parkinson's disease, Down's syndrome, stroke) was also elicited. Ages of father and mother at birth were also recorded. Chi-square test, Kruskal-Wallis analysis of variance, cluster analysis, and logistic regression analysis were used for statistical analysis. The results (chi-square test) showed a statistically significant difference between patients with dementia of the Alzheimer type and controls as far as marital status (p = .04), the subject's history of major depressive episode (p = .02), and family history of dementia (p = .002) were concerned. Logistic regression analysis results produced a complex model of family aggregation of dementia, with patients with a history of depression and family history of dementia having an up to seven times higher risk of developing AD. These findings, especially a family history of dementia, are consistent with most of the literature.