Date of Completion


Thesis Type

College of Arts and Science Honors

First Advisor

Julie Dumas

Second Advisor

Alicia Ebert


Down Syndrome, Alzheimers Disease, Body Mass Index, Hippocampal Volume, women


Individuals with Down Syndrome (DS) show significant development and aggressive progression of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) at a significantly earlier age than neurotypical individuals. The risk of AD is also particularly high in women with DS; it is even higher than the risk of AD in neurotypical women, which in turn, is higher than the risk of AD in neurotypical men. The DS population, as a whole, has a lower hippocampal volume and a higher prevalence of obesity when compared to the neurotypical population. This study examined the relationship between BMI and hippocampal volumes in women with DS. MRI imaging, demographic data, and physical assessment data from women with DS aged 40-59 were obtained from the Alzheimer’s Biomarker Consortium -Down Syndrome (ABC-DS) study database and were examined to evaluate the relationship between BMI and hippocampal volume. FreeSurfer was used to extract hippocampal volume from MRI images and BMI was calculated for each subject. The results suggested that BMI was not related to hippocampal volumes. However, ventricular volumes were negatively related to BMI suggesting that a higher BMI may be protective for the DS brain. Given the earlier onset and higher risk of AD in female subjects with DS and their higher prevalence of obesity, the data analyzed from subjects in this population may offer unique insight into the progression and risk of AD in women with DS.