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New Study Shows No Positive Effects From Ginkgo Biloba

December 31, 2009
Complementary and alternative medicine, to either supplement or replace traditional treatment, continues to grow in popularity, and the use of herbal supplements is at the top of the list. One in particular, Ginkgo biloba, is taken by many with the hope of improving memory or preventing memory loss associated with aging, yet, say researchers at a variety medical schools from across the country, rigorous clinical trials proving its effect on long-term cognitive functioning were lacking. They undertook a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlledclinical trial—the gold standard of testing—with 3069 participants ages72 to 96, conducted in 6 academic medical centers in theUnited States between 2000 and 2008, with over six years of follow-up. Half took 120-mg Ginkgo biloba extract twice a day and the others took a placebo. The participants were tested with standard measures used to assess Alzheimer’s as well as levels ofmemory, attention, visual-spatial construction, language, and other functions. Researchers found that the annual declines in scores didn’t differ at all between the two groups. Taking the supplement didn’t not result in less declinein older adults with normal cognition or those who already had mild cognitive impairment.