A panel of Italian neurologists of the Italian Society for the study of Dementias (SINDEM) discussed the recently proposed new lexicon for Alzheimer disease (AD) and the related diagnostic criteria for the different phases of the disease (Preclinical AD, prodromal AD and Alzheimer's dementia) (Dubois et al. in Lancet Neurol 6:734-746, 2007; in Lancet Neurol 9:1118-1127, 2010). The aim of this discussion was to reach a consensus, among the Italian neurologists involved in the study and care of persons with dementia, in particular in reference to the potential use of the proposed diagnostic criteria in clinical practice. After having critically revised the scientific evidence related to the new lexicon and to the new proposed diagnostic criteria, the panel concluded that the proposed new diagnostic criteria and the new proposed lexicon for AD are conceptually attractive. However, the evidence about the instrumental and laboratory markers for the diagnosis of the preclinical and asymptomatic states of the disease are, until to now, insufficient to support the routine clinical use of these investigations.