Longer study finds ginkgo effective

Researchers found significant improvement in verbal recall among a group of people with age-associated memory impairment who took the herbal supplement ginkgo biloba for six months when compared with a group that received a placebo.

The small UCLA study used a technology called positron-emission tomography (PET) and found that for subjects taking gingko biloba, improved recall correlated with better brain function in key brain memory centers.

“Our findings suggest intriguing avenues for future study, including using PET with a larger sample to better measure and understand the impact of gingko biloba on brain metabolism,” said Dr Linda Ercoli, lead author of the study.

Gingko biloba is often used as a dietary supplement to treat memory loss. Principal investigator Dr Gary Small noted that the six-month UCLA study is one of the first to measure the effects of gingko biloba over a longer period of time. Most previous studies have measured the effect of the supplement over 12 weeks or less.

Source: University of California – Los Angeles, Nov 10, 2003