Ginkgo Biloba and Dementia

Published: July 9, 2012
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In this 22-week study of 400 patients with dementia, half received ginkgo biloba 240 mg a day and the other half placebo. The ginkgo group had improvements in SKT test battery score and neuropsychiatric symptoms. In addition, the mean caregiver distress score reduced significantly among caregivers of patients in the intervention group, as compared to a worsening found among caregivers of patients on the placebo. Significant differences between the active and placebo groups were found for apathy/indifference, anxiety, irritability/lability, depression/dysphoria, and sleep/nighttime behavior. These results suggest that supplementing with an extract of gingko biloba such as the one used in this study may benefit patients with dementia.1

In a second placebo-controlled study lasting six months, 404 patients with dementia also received ginkgo or placebo. 333 of the subjects had Alzheimer's disease and 71 had vascular dementia. Ginkgo was found to improve cognitive functioning, non-cognitive symptoms, and functional abilities. Patients who supplemented with the gingko biloba extract were found to have improvements on the SKT cognitive test battery (improvement of 1.4 points), as compared to the deterioration or no change found in patients on placebo (score deteriorated by 0.3 + or - 2.7 points). Scores on the Neuropsychiatric Inventory (NPI) improved in patients taking the supplement (by -2.9 points in patients with AD and by -4.5 points in patients with vascular dementia), compared to either a slight deterioration or slight improvement in patients on the placebo. Improvements in secondary outcomes (activities of daily living, quality of life, and verbal fluency) were found among patients taking the gingko extract, as compared to those taking the placebo. No significant difference in adverse events was found between the active and placebo groups. These results suggest that supplementation with an extract of gingko biloba may be of benefit to patients with mild to moderate dementia due to either vascular dementia or Alzheimer's disease.2

I would recommend getting Ginkgo in an herbal supplement that promotes mental alertness.

References:

1"Effects of Ginkgo biloba extract EGb 761 on neuropsychiatric symptoms of dementia: findings from a randomised controlled trial," Scripnikov A, Khomenko A, et al, Wien Med Wochenschr, 2007; 157(13-14): 295-300.

2A 240-mg once-daily formulation of Ginkgo Biloba extract EGb 761® is effective in both Alzheimer's disease and vascular dementia: Results from a randomized controlled trial," Ihl R, Tribanek M, et al, Alzheimer's and Dementia, July 2008; 4(4): Supplement, T165-T166

Jacob Teitelbaum, MD

is one of the world's leading integrative medical authorities on fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue. He is the lead author of four research studies on their treatments, and has published numerous health & wellness books, including the bestseller on fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome From Fatigued to Fantastic! and his newer The Fatigue and Fibromyalgia Solution.  Dr. Teitelbaum is one of the most frequently quoted fibromyalgia experts in the world and appears often as a guest on news and talk shows nationwide including Good Morning America, The Dr. Oz Show, Oprah & Friends, CNN, and Fox News Health. 

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