EEG topography was compared in patients with senile dementia of the Alzheimer's type (SDAT), aged normal controls, and young normal controls to assess regional differences. The square root of absolute power was determined for each frequency using a Fast Fourier Transform (FFT). The normal elderly group showed a reduction in all 4 frequency bands, delta, theta, alpha and beta, at each of 32 leads when compared to the young controls. Z-transformation of the data revealed differences in topography. Older normals showed significantly greater mid-parietal and left mid-temporal delta than the younger controls. A similar pattern was seen for theta activity. Elderly controls showed relatively less occipital alpha and greater mid-parietal alpha. Beta activity demonstrated these same significant topographic differences. The elderly/SDAT comparison was significant for delta only. SDAT patients were characterized by a marked delta asymmetry in temporal regions which was not seen in the elderly normals. © 1989.