Ginkgo Doesn't Ward Off Alzheimer's
If you've been tempted to try ginkgo biloba supplementsin the hope of staving off Alzheimer's Disease, save your money. A new study has dashed the hope that the "natural" supplement can do anything at all to prevent the dreaded dementia. A whopping 10,000 participants were involved in long-term trials of ginkgo biloba and no benefits were shown. Bruno Vella, MD of Hopital Casselardit in Toulouse, France and colleagues reported their findings in The Lancet Neurology.
MedPage Today reported that in an accompanying editorial, Lon Schneider, MD of the University of Southern California in Los Angeles wrote: "The GuidAge trial adds to the substantial evidence from the Ginkgo Evaluation of Memory trial ... that ginkgo biloba does not prevent dementia in elderly individuals with or without memory complaints or cognitive impairment and is not effective for prevention of Alzheimer's disease. It would be unfortunate if users of ginkgo biloba, nevertheless, are led to believe that the extract prevents the dementia."
Nikos Scarmeas, MD, from Columbia University Medical Center in New York City, said in an email to MedPage Today that the trial was "very well designed and executed" with a "long enough follow-up to see conversion." When asked by MedPage Today about the lack of preventive strategies for Alzheimer's, Scarmeas admitted that there's little advice for Alzheimer's prevention. But he added that "with an increasing number of scientists and researchers in the field and commitment and investment from society, we can be hopeful it will change in the future."