Three hundred forty-two subjects underwent 428 research lumbar punctures for studies of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) biomarkers. Subjects were 67 Alzheimer disease or mild cognitive impairment (AD/MCI) patients and 275 cognitively normal adults aged 21 to 88. Lumbar puncture was performed in the lateral decubitus or sitting position using the Sprotte 24g atraumatic spinal needle. Up to 34 ml of cerebrospinal fluid were collected. Anxiety and pain experienced during lumbar puncture were rated on a visual analog scale. The frequency of any adverse event (11.7%), clinically significant adverse events (3.97%), and typical post-lumbar puncture headache (PLPHA) (0.93%) was low. Risk of post-lumbar puncture headache was unrelated to age, gender, position during lumbar puncture, ml of cerebrospinal fluid collected, or minutes of recumbent rest following lumbar puncture. The frequency of post-lumbar puncture headache was lower in AD/MCI (P = 0.03) than any other subject group. Anxiety and pain ratings were low. Younger subjects reported more anxiety than old (P = 0.001) and AD/MCI subjects (P = 0.008) and more pain than older normal subjects (P = 0.013). Pain ratings for women were higher than those for men (P = 0.006). Using the Sprotte 24g spinal needle, research lumbar puncture can be performed with a very low rate of clinically significant adverse events and with good acceptability in cognitively impaired persons and cognitively normal adults of all ages.