The aim of this international guideline on dementia was to present a peer-reviewed evidence-based statement for the guidance of practice for clinical neurologists, geriatricians, psychiatrists, and other specialist physicians responsible for the care of patients with dementia. It covers major aspects of diagnostic evaluation and treatment, with particular emphasis on the type of patient often referred to the specialist physician. The main focus is Alzheimer's disease, but many of the recommendations apply to dementia disorders in general. The task force working group considered and classified evidence from original research reports, meta-analysis, and systematic reviews, published before January 2006. The evidence was classified and consensus recommendations graded according to the EFNS guidance. Where there was a lack of evidence, but clear consensus, good practice points were provided. The recommendations for clinical diagnosis, blood tests, neuroimaging, electroencephalography (EEG), cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) analysis, genetic testing, tissue biopsy, disclosure of diagnosis, treatment of Alzheimer's disease, and counselling and support for caregivers were all revised when compared with the previous EFNS guideline. New recommendations were added for the treatment of vascular dementia, Parkinson's disease dementia, and dementia with Lewy bodies, for monitoring treatment, for treatment of behavioural and psychological symptoms in dementia, and for legal issues. The specialist physician plays an important role together with primary care physicians in the multidisciplinary dementia teams, which have been established throughout Europe. This guideline may contribute to the definition of the role of the specialist physician in providing dementia health care.