Researcher ORCID Identifier

Graduation Year


Document Type

Open Access Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science



Reader 1

Melissa Coleman

Reader 2

Christopher Dirk Keene

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© 2020 Katelynn D Nguyen


Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is a progressive neurodegenerative disorder that usually affects but not limited to the elder population. We see that when an individual develops AD, the brain cells are degenerating and dying at rates that are uncontrollable. Worldwide AD has affected at least 50 million people and we will continue to see this number increase. Although the research done on AD has made great strides, much is still unknown and being studied. Previous studies have allowed us to understand that many of the impacts of AD are correlated to various regions of the brain experiencing atrophy. This causes an individual’s cognitive, behavioral, and social skills to be impaired. This paper examined the question of how the use of structural magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) can be used for studying brain atrophy in AD. Using the software, FreeSurfer, we estimated the cortical volumes of various brain regions in AD patients (n = 42) and subjects without AD (n = 38). We found that compared to non-demented individuals, demented patients experience more atrophy in multiple brain regions such as the cerebral cortex gray and white matter of entorhinal, parahippocampal, fusiform, insula, inferior temporal, superior temporal, rostral middle frontal, and lateral occipital gyri, as well as subcortical structures, such as amygdala and hippocampus.. Although the sample used was relatively small, we expect that using structural MRI scans of larger samples will increase the ability to rely on volumetric data to help us further understand what regions are being impacted by AD and provide further support for early diagnosis of AD.

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