Alzheimer's DementiaElderlyGinkgo

Ginkgo delays progression to dementia

But only if you remember to take it.

That’s the conclusion from researchers at the Oregon Health & Science University in Portland.

First, the details.

  • 118 cognitively sound individuals were randomly assigned to standardized ginkgo biloba extract (GBE) or placebo.
  • Treatment lasted for 42 months.
  • The researchers and patients did not know which treatment was given (double-blinded).

And, the results.

  • The results from all patients who started the study showed no reduction in the risk of progression of cognitive (reasoning) impairment.
  • However, those who took all their doses of GBE had a significantly lower risk of progression and a smaller decline in memory scores.
  • There were significantly more ischemic strokes associated with GBE treatment.

The bottom line?
“Previous clincial trials in Germany and France reported that ginkgo biloba produced long-term improvements in cognitive function in older adults with dementia,” according to an article in Food Quality News. “But, a study from Stanford University reported no benefits with ginkgo in healthy, non-demented older adults.”

Perhaps the secret to success is to select a reputable brand and take it.

The authors recommended that the greater incidence of “stroke and TIA [transient ischemic attack] cases observed among the GBE group requires further study to confirm.”

2/28/08 18:04 JR

Hi, I’m JR

John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at, a complementary and alternative medicine website.