In Alzheimer's disease (AD), the 'Cascade hypothesis' proposes that the formation of paired helical filaments (PHF) may be casually linked to the deposition of beta/A4 protein. Hence, there should be a close spatial relationship between senile plaques and cellular neurofibrillary tangles in a local region of the brain. In tissue from 6 AD patients, plaques and tangles occurred in clusters and individual clusters were often regularly spaced along the cortical strip. However, the clusters of plaques and tangles were in phase in only 4/32 cortical tissues examined. Hence, the data were not consistent with the 'Cascade hypothesis' that beta/A4 and PHF are directly linked in AD.