Alzheimer's DementiaElderlyGinkgo

Review of ginkgo to treat dementia

This one comes from researchers at Charite University Medicine, in Berlin, and Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz University, in Hannover, Germany.

First, the details.

  • 9 studies (2372 patients) of standardized extract EGb761® were included.
  • Studies ranged from 12 to 52 weeks duration with at least 10 participants per group.
  • Data were combined for a meta-analysis.

And, the results.

  • The average change in cognition (reasoning) significantly favored ginkgo compared to placebo.
  • There was no difference from placebo for activities in daily living.
  • Among a subgroup of patient with Alzheimer’s disease, ginkgo was significantly better than placebo for activities of daily living.
  • Drop-out rates and side effects did not differ between ginkgo and placebo.
  • No consistent results were available for quality of life and neuropsychiatric symptoms

The bottom line?

The authors concluded, “Ginkgo biloba appears more effective than placebo,… while clinical relevance is — similar to other dementia drugs — difficult to determine.

The patients in this review were diagnosed with dementia.

Regarding prevention of dementia, the Ginkgo Evaluation of Memory (GEM) Study concluded there was no benefit from ginkgo.

Of course, not everyone agrees with this conclusion. Particularly Mark Blumenthal who is founder and executive director of the Austin, Texas-based American Botanical Council.

3/29/10 16:39 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.