Twenty seven patients with mild AD were enrolled in a prospective open label controlled study of rivastigmine. Assessments included a range of neuropsychiatric and behavioural measures and rCBF using HMPAO SPECT at baseline, three and six months. Significant enhancement of frontal, parietal and temporal brain blood flow with related psychometric improvement was observed in twelve of the treated patients. A pattern of reduced rCBF and cognitive performance was observed in four unresponsive and eleven untreated patients. The results suggest that alterations in the clinical and cognitive status of patients receiving a cholinesterase inhibitor are paralleled by changes in rCBF. Longitudinal assessment with repeated imaging offers a method of better understanding the effects of cholinesterase inhibition on the AD brain. NeuroReport 13:83-87 (C) 2002 Lippincott Williams Wilkins.