Ginkgo biloba does not prevent dementia, Alzheimer’s, according to new study

by James Hubbard, M.D., M.P.H.

The older we get, the more we start to worry about dementia. … What was I saying?  Oh, yeah, dementia, a decline in our memory, thinking, figuring things out.  Declining cognition.  Alzheimer’s is a type of dementia.

Actually, it is nothing to laugh about. The increasing elderly population makes certain it will become a big and bigger public health hazard.  Our ignorance of how to prevent or treat it, or even knowing the causes for certain, makes it fair game for people to want to try anything they’ve heard might help.

Ginkgo biloba falls into that category of hope.

Some small studies have shown promise. But there had been none large enough and long enough to give us statistical assurance regarding ginkgo biloba’s effectiveness.  Then the NIH organized exactly that type of study early this millineum.  The results are reported in the current JAMA.

Investigators recruited 3,069 volunteers, all over 75 years old, with no or minimal signs of dementia.  They gave half of them placebo.  The other half got ginkgo biloba. During the 6+ years they were followed, 523 were diagnosed with dementia.  The ginkgo biloba group fared no better than the placebo group in preventing it.

Depressing.  But we need objective studies like this.  We have no time for false hope in finding prevention and a cure. If the treatment fails, move on to the next. I suspect the case is closed on ginkgo and dementia.  It was an excellent study.

Now this says nothing about whether it can improve memory in people with no dementia. The study did not go there.  All I know is I tried it about 10 years ago for a few weeks, and I think it worked the opposite on me.

Has anyone had experience taking gingko biloba?  How about comments on the study?

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3 Responses to “Ginkgo biloba does not prevent dementia, Alzheimer’s, according to new study”

  1. Vitiligo Symptoms inf Says:

    I am agree with this post but it has been found last days that it is use full for some other pigmentation disorder like vitiligo and nevus depigmentosus.

  2. James Hubbard, M.D., M.P.H. Says:

    Thanks for the comments. I am not familiar with any studies showing that ginkgo helps vitiligo (disease causing scattered patches of depigmented skin).
    I hope I am wrong as there is no cure, at present. Cosmetic procedures do help.

  3. vitiligo Says:

    I found your blog on google and read about 6 more of your other posts. I just added you to my Google News Reader. Keep up the Stellar work Look forward to reading more from you in the future. God bless

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