OBJECTIVE To evaluate the production rate of CSF in patients with differing disease states. METHODS The authors measured the production rate of CSF in three groups of patients: five patients with PD below age 60 (aged 51 +/- 4 years, mean +/- SD), nine with PD over age 60 (aged 69 +/- 6 years, mean +/- SD), and seven with dementia of the Alzheimer's type (AD) (aged 72 +/- 9 years, mean +/- SD). This method, based on the Masserman technique, employs ventricular rather than a lumbar access to the CSF space. Furthermore, the volume of CSF removed during the procedure is only 3 mL rather than 10 mL. RESULTS These measurements indicate that the mean rate of CSF production in patients with PD under age 60 was 0.47 +/- 0.13 mL/minute, in patients with PD aged 60 or older the mean rate was 0.40 +/- 0.12 mL/minute, and in patients with AD the mean rate was 0.20 +/- 0.06 mL/minute. CONCLUSION These results indicate that the rate of CSF production in patients with PD is normal, and that the rate of CSF production in patients with AD is markedly reduced.