Increased levels of an unidentified peak have been found in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) from patients with Alzheimer's disease or vascular dementia compared to the level in healthy controls using proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy. No increase was found in patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. Reexamination of spectra from a study published previously (Gårseth et al.  J. Neurosci. Res. 60:779–782), however, shows that this peak was also elevated significantly in CSF from patients with Huntington's disease compared to that in controls. The level in patients with Parkinson's disease, where dementia develops in up to 40% of patients, was not elevated significantly compared to that in controls. To the best of our knowledge, this peak has not yet been identified and we therefore find it appropriate to temporarily designate the name “dementia associated factor” (DAF), although there is as yet no certainty that this substance is specific for these conditions. Apart from a significantly increased level of glutamine in CSF from patients with vascular dementia compared to that in controls, no other significant difference was found for any other metabolite measured in the patient groups using proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy. © 2004 Wiley-Liss, Inc.