15 Feb

Disappointing news regarding Gingko Biloba….

Recently, I had heard a third-hand account of someone who showed some cognitive improvement on Gingko Biloba. This got my brain buzzing and I was planning on looking up the newest info on Gingko. Before I got the chance to look up the newest studies, a big study landed in my mailbox. And the results were not promising:

Gingko did not help at all. The researchers had a very large number of patients and used very sensitive cognitive tests to measure brain function; and after 8 years of repeated testing, patients did no better on Gingko than they did on placebo.

Now often studies can have poor design and therefore be inaccurate; but this study had an excellent design and should be considered new evidence for the medical field.

There is still hope however for the bulk of the population: This study only examined men and women aged 72-96 years old. There is no evidence at all as to whether Gingko helps those under 72 years of age (or over 96 for that matter). So hold on to your hats — Gingko may show some promise yet!

(Article referenced: Snitz BE et al: Ginkgo biloba for preventing cognitive decline in older adults. JAMA 302:2663, 2009 [PMID: 20040554])

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