Among the age-related diseases, the development of cognitive impairments, in particular dementia, is the most devastating for the individual and has great social and healthcare costs. Accurate information is needed about the prevalence and incidence of cognitive disorders and the physiology of the ageing brain. In particular, only scant data are available about the relationship between ageing, cognitive status and nutritional factors. In order to address these issues we planned the Conselice Study of Brain Ageing, a longitudinal study of physiologic and pathologic brain ageing. The center involved in the study was the municipality of Conselice, Ravenna province, in the Northern Italian region Emilia-Romagna. A total of 1016 subjects aged 65 and over was enrolled at baseline. Information about cognitive status at 4-years of follow-up was collected for 940 of them. These data have been used to estimate prevalence and incidence of dementia in the elderly Italian population and to investigate the possible role of baseline blood homocysteine as risk factors for dementia.