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Ginkgo biloba May Not Reduce Cognitive Decline in Adults

Last Updated: December 29, 2009.

Ginkgo biloba, an herbal extract used to prevent memory loss and cognitive decline, was not effective in reducing the incidence of cognitive decline in individuals 72 to 96 years of age with normal brain function or mild cognitive impairment, according to the Ginkgo Evaluation of Memory study published in the Dec. 23/30 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

TUESDAY, Dec. 29 (HealthDay News) -- Ginkgo biloba, an herbal extract used to prevent memory loss and cognitive decline, was not effective in reducing the incidence of cognitive decline in individuals 72 to 96 years of age with normal brain function or mild cognitive impairment, according to the Ginkgo Evaluation of Memory study published in the Dec. 23/30 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Beth E. Snitz, Ph.D., of the University of Pittsburgh, and colleagues randomized 3,069 patients to receive either a 120 mg dose of G. biloba extract twice daily or placebo, with median follow-up of 6.1 years. The researchers assessed changes in cognitive function using the Modified Mini-Mental State Examination (3MSE) and cognitive subscale of the Alzheimer Disease Assessment Scale (ADAS-Cog). They also assessed changes in neuropsychological domains such as memory, attention, spatial arrangement, language and execution.

The researchers found no changes in neuropsychological domains between the G. biloba group and the placebo group. In terms of changes in cognitive function as defined by the 3MSE and ADAS-Cog, rates of change did not differ between the groups, even though rates of change varied by baseline cognitive impairment status.

"Compared with placebo, the use of G. biloba, 120 mg twice daily, did not result in less cognitive decline in older adults with normal cognition or with mild cognitive impairment," the authors conclude.

Two authors reported financial and consulting relationships with several pharmaceutical, medical device and diagnostics companies.

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