Alzheimer's disease affects millions of people around the world. Currently, there are no treatments that prevent or slow the disease. Like other neurodegenerative diseases, Alzheimer's disease is characterized by protein misfolding in the brain. This process and the associated brain damage begin years before the substantial neurodegeneration that accompanies dementia. Studies using new neuroimaging techniques and fluid biomarkers suggest that Alzheimer's disease pathology can be detected preclinically. These advances should allow the design of new clinical trials and early mechanism-based therapeutic intervention.