Regional cerebral perfusion was evaluated by single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) using technetium-99m hexamethylpropyleneamine oxime ([99mTc]HM-PAO) in sixteen patients with Alzheimer's disease (AD) in early clinical phase and in 16 healthy elderly controls. In all patients transmission computed tomography (TCT) and/or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) did not show focal brain abnormalities. Relative to normal subjects, AD patients showed significant reductions in cortical/cerebellar activity ratio: cortical perfusion was globally depressed with the largest reductions in frontal and posterior temporo-parietal cortices. Asymmetries of relative perfusion between cerebral hemispheres were also demonstrated when language was affected or visuospatial functions were unevenly impaired. In patients with early AD, SPECT provides functional information to be compared with clinical and psychometric data.