This report describes the operation of a multidisciplinary university hospital memory clinic in a neurological setting, and the diagnostic evaluations in 400 consecutive patients referred for cognitive symptoms and possible dementia during a period of 27 months (1 September 1995-31 December 1997). The mean age of the patients was 63.6 years (range 19-97). On clinical and neuropsychological examination, 46% of the patients fulfilled DSM IV criteria for dementia, 5% had selective amnesia, and 14% had other selective cognitive deficits. The remaining patients had either no significant cognitive deficits (31%) or were not evaluable (4%). A wide range of disorders from the fields of neurology, psychiatry, neurosurgery and internal medicine were identified as the underlying etiologies for the cognitive symptoms. Potentially reversible conditions were observed in 26% of the patients, not including the 11% in whom no specific underlying disease was identified. Concomitant conditions or risk factors with a potential influence on cognitive functions were identified in 61% of the patients. Diagnostic evaluation of patients with mild to moderate cognitive symptoms and possible dementia is an integrated multidisciplinary task, which should focus on the identification of non-progressive and potentially reversible etiologies, co-morbidity, selective cognitive deficits, and rare or atypical neurological conditions, as well as on the early identification of common progressive dementia disorders.