Gingko is one of the world’s most popular herbs, mostly taken by older adults due to its reported effects on forestalling the inevitable loss of some brain function, as well as the more serious disease Alzheimers. Is there good evidence? Unfortunately, the best study done so far, just published, says no. Read on…
I’m sure this will be disappointing to many people, but this latest study (No Benefit of Ginkgo Biloba for Age-Related Cognitive Decline) was very convincing. In this study, just published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, over 3,000 elderly subjects were followed over 6 years. One group took 120mg twice a day, the other a placebo. There was no major difference in memory scores between groups. Here’s a good quote from Dr. Devere, director of the Alzheimer’s Disease and Memory Disorders Center in Austin, Texas, and a fellow of the American Academy of Neurology, as told Medscape Neurology:
“Numerous other, smaller studies have shown the same outcome but were limited by small size and shorter follow-up than reported in this article. The only limitations of the study were that it did not include enough ethnic or other cultural groups to make conclusions about these populations and that it included a fairly highly educated group. Despite these mild limitations, it is a sound study and all but puts a final nail in the coffin of using [ginkgo biloba] to help prevent cognitive decline in the normal or mild cognitively impaired elderly,” Dr. Devere concluded.
There’s another good analysis of this study from Scientific American (http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=gingko-doesnt-slow-cognit&sc=HLTH_20100105).
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