Faculty Advisor

Rulfs, Jill


A prominent theory about the etiology of Alzheimer's Disease (AD), called the inflammation hypothesis, points to inflammation from an infection as a causative agent of the biodegradation of the brain. To test this hypothesis, residents from long-term care facilities were cognitively assessed and their microbiomes were analyzed. With a small sample size, conclusive evidence was not obtained to support or reject this hypothesis, however the cognitive assessments used, including the NIH Toolbox, were analyzed. It was concluded that the NIH Toolbox is not an effective tool to track the progression of dementia at this time as it is not validated for participants over the age of 85, requires extensive time and equipment, and the results are difficult to interpret.


Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Date Accepted

April 2019


Biology and Biotechnology

Project Type

Major Qualifying Project


Restricted-WPI community only

Advisor Department

Biology and Biotechnology

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