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Ginkgo not effective for dementia

17th June 2008

UK researchers have found that a herb taken by around 10% of people with dementia is "not an effective treatment".

ginkgo

The herb, ginkgo biloba, is sold as helping to improve memory. A study by a team at Imperial College in London found "no difference" in people who took the herb and those given a placebo.

The study, published in the International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, looked at 176 people who suffered from mild to moderate dementia.

The participants were given 120 mg ginkgo biloba each day. The team performed measurements at eight, 16 and 24 weeks to determine the participants' cognitive function and "quality of life".

Participants were given tests which asked them to remember words and respond to time and date-related queries.

The team said the results did not indicate that the herb had any effect on memory or quality of life.

A previous study had suggested in 2002 that ginkgo might present a "small" positive benefit to memory in people with dementia.

Study leader, Dr Rob McCarney said the fact there were few drugs available to people in early stages of the disease meant that people were trying everything they could to halt its progress.

He said: "This isn't a hugely expensive treatment but if you're living on a state pension it can make a considerable dent in your budget."

"The findings add to the growing evidence that ginkgo provides no benefit."

 

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