Study: Forget Ginkgo for Slowing Memory Loss

By Andrew Moseman
Dec 31, 2009 6:00 PMNov 19, 2019 8:19 PM


Sign up for our email newsletter for the latest science news

This week, a eight-year double-blind study of the nutritional supplement ginkgo biloba finally reached the pages of the Journal of the American Medical Association. Many health food stores sell ginkgo supplements to people who are hoping to improve their wits and memory, and particularly to elderly people worried about cognitive decline and dementia. But the conclusion by lead researcher Steven DeKosky? Save your money.

In the GEM [Ginkgo Evaluation of Memory] study, participants aged 72-96 years with little or no cognitive impairment were recruited from four communities in the eastern United States and received either a twice-daily dose of 120-milligrams of extract of G biloba or an identical-looking placebo [AFP]

. For the more than 3,000 study participants, researchers found no difference in age-related cognitive decline—including the incidence of dementia or Alzheimer's—between ginkgo takers and placebo takers. What about younger people taking ginkgo?

The findings don't necessarily apply to acute use of the extract -- or to younger patients who are attempting to prevent disease many years in the future. Yet DeKosky noted that "there's nothing about antioxidants that would make you think they'd help in the short-term" [ABC News]

. For more, check out this post by Phil Plait at Bad Astronomy. Related Content: 80beats: Lack of ZZZZs Linked to Alzheimer's in Mice 80beats: New Theory of Alzheimer's: Brain's Memory Center is "Overworked" 80beats: Herbal Remedy Doesn’t Help Kids With Attention Deficit Disorder DISCOVER: Alternative Medicine Man

Image: Wikimedia Commons / darkone

1 free article left
Want More? Get unlimited access for as low as $1.99/month

Already a subscriber?

Register or Log In

1 free articleSubscribe
Discover Magazine Logo
Want more?

Keep reading for as low as $1.99!


Already a subscriber?

Register or Log In

More From Discover
Recommendations From Our Store
Shop Now
Stay Curious
Our List

Sign up for our weekly science updates.

To The Magazine

Save up to 40% off the cover price when you subscribe to Discover magazine.

Copyright © 2024 Kalmbach Media Co.