The senile plaques and neuro-fibrillary tangles which form part of the pathology of Alzheimer's disease have come under increasing scrutiny over the last decade. In particular, much work has been done investigating their elemental composition. The suggestion that 75-100% of tensile plaques with mature cores contain aluminium and silicon, probably in the form of alumino-silicates, has led to increasing speculation about the role of these elements in the disease. SPM preliminary studies suggest that aluminium and silicon are not present in as great a proportion of senile plaques as presented in the literature. The situation is complicated by the fact that airborn and solubilised salts of aluminium and silicon may be encountered as contamination. They have been found, for example, in granular or crystalline form in the Aristar grade organic laboratory reagents used for staining the tissue, and in the pure pioloform used to back the samples. The latest results from scans of stained and unstained Alzheimer tissue are presented. (orig.).