At the Second Canadian Consensus Conference on Dementia (CCCD) (February, 1998), a group of neurologists, geriatricians, and psychiatrists met to consider guidelines for evaluation of dementia in Canada. This review paper formed a background paper for their discussion of dementia diagnosis. These experts from across the country concluded that diagnosis of suspected dementia cases continued to rest on skilled clinical assessment. Mental status exam, preferably in some quantifiable form, has become an essential part of the assessment. Selected laboratory tests are advisable in all cases (CBC, TSH, electrolytes, calcium, and glucose), but the CCCD continued to advise that CT scanning was mandatory only in selected cases where clinical findings pointed to another possibility besides Alzheimer’s disease. The growing list of other diagnostic measures with potential usefulness in diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease or dementia in general was reviewed, but the evidence was judged as insufficient to support routine use of these tests by physicians. As new treatments for Alzheimer’s disease become available, neurologists face new diagnostic challenges - differentiating Mild Cognitive Impairment, Frontotemporal dementias and Mixed dementias, and Lewy Body Dementia. Guidelines to aid in differential diagnosis are presented.