Butler Journal of Undergraduate Research

Faculty Sponsor

John Krantz


Alzheimer’s disease is a very prevalent and fatal disorder in older adults, and Mild Cognitive Impairment is often seen as a precursor to Alzheimer’s disease. Alzheimer’s disease is a form of Dementia that is characterized by loss of cognitive abilities while aging. It is ultimately fatal. Mild Cognitive Impairment is more of an intermediate stage between normal mental decline with aging and the more serious decline of dementia. The ApoE E4 gene has been shown to be highly correlated with a greater likelihood of acquiring late-onset Alzheimer’s disease. This study looked to see the effect that the ApoE E4 gene has on the rate of brain volume loss (specifically in the hippocampus, entorhinal cortex, and cerebral cortex) in patients who transition from Mild Cognitive Impairment to Alzheimer’s disease. This was done by comparing people, gathered from the Alzheimer’s Disease Neuroimaging Initiative, with Mild Cognitive Impairment who test positive for the E4 allele vs. those with Mild Cognitive Impairment who test negative for the E4 allele, to see which group has a faster loss of brain volume to Alzheimer’s disease. My study found that testing positive for the E4 allele led to faster neurodegeneration in both people with Mild Cognitive Impairment who converted to Alzheimer’s and even those who did not convert to Alzheimer’s. This study is beneficial because it could provide further insight into the potential genetic cause of Alzheimer’s disease, especially if the study is replicable. It is unique from other studies of this nature because it involves a new cohort.