Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Ginkgo fails important memory test, according to study in JAMA

21.08.2002


Ginkgo biloba has no beneficial effect on memory and related mental functions of healthy older adults when taken following manufacturer’s instructions, according to a study in the Aug. 21st issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association conducted by researchers at Williams College in Williamstown, Mass. and The Memory Clinic in Bennington, Vt.



The study was designed and conducted by the paper’s lead author, Paul R. Solomon, Ph.D., professor of psychology and founding chair of the college’s Neuroscience Program, Richard D. De Veaux, Ph.D., professor of statistics, and three students: Felicity Adams, Amanda Silver, and Jill Zimmer.

Extract from leaves of the tree Ginkgo biloba is marketed worldwide as an enhancer of memory and other mental functions. In 1998, $310 million dollars worth was sold in the U.S. alone.


Researchers identified 230 volunteers over the age of 60 who were physically and mentally healthy. They gave them 14 tests of learning, memory, and attention and concentration, and had them and their companions (e.g. spouses, partners, close friends) rate the participants’ mental functions on subjective scales.

Participants were then randomly divided into two groups: one to take gingko and one placebo. The study was double-blind; neither the participants nor the researchers knew who was taking ginkgo and who was taking placebo.

The manufacturer claims beneficial effects can be noticed after four weeks. After six weeks, participants in the study retook the 14 standardized tests and they and their companions re-rated participants’ mental functions. There were no significant differences between those taking ginkgo and those taking placebo on any of the objective or subjective measures.

"Many of our patients and their families who are seen at the Memory Clinic in Bennington have asked whether ginkgo could slow or reverse the effects of aging on memory," Solomon said. "Since there were no scientifically rigorous studies of this, we decided to conduct a study of ginkgo on memory. The results indicate that when taken following the manufacturer’s instructions, ginkgo provides no measurable benefit in memory, attention, or concentration in healthy older adults. We hope others will now further test ginkgo and other vitamins and nutrients to see if they really provide the benefits they claim.

"As with any over-the-counter substance, people taking ginkgo, or thinking of taking it, have to decide for themselves what’s right but they owe it to themselves to inform that decision with knowledge of scientific studies. They also need to consider cost and possible side effects, especially if taken with medication or other substances."

Other researchers welcomed the study. "It is critically important that claims of effectiveness of all treatments, including natural products, be supported by scientifically valid results from well controlled clinical trials," said Steven H. Ferris, Ph.D., Friedman Professor for Alzheimer’s Disease at NYU School of Medicine and executive director of the Silberstein Institute for Aging and Dementia. "This important, very well conducted clinical trial clearly calls into question previously unsubstantiated claims that Ginkgo biloba improves mental function in older people."


The study was supported by grants from the National Institute on Aging, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, and the Essel Foundation.

Editors: Paul Solomon will be available for individual interviews Aug. 20 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. in New York City at The Williams Club (24 East 39th Street). To schedule an interview, on the 20th or any day, contact Cynthia Murphy, Executive Director of the Memory Clinic (cell phone: 413-281-0576).

Paul Solomon | EurekAlert!

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Biofilm discovery suggests new way to prevent dangerous infections
23.05.2017 | University of Texas at Austin

nachricht Another reason to exercise: Burning bone fat -- a key to better bone health
19.05.2017 | University of North Carolina Health Care

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: A quantum walk of photons

Physicists from the University of Würzburg are capable of generating identical looking single light particles at the push of a button. Two new studies now demonstrate the potential this method holds.

The quantum computer has fuelled the imagination of scientists for decades: It is based on fundamentally different phenomena than a conventional computer....

Im Focus: Turmoil in sluggish electrons’ existence

An international team of physicists has monitored the scattering behaviour of electrons in a non-conducting material in real-time. Their insights could be beneficial for radiotherapy.

We can refer to electrons in non-conducting materials as ‘sluggish’. Typically, they remain fixed in a location, deep inside an atomic composite. It is hence...

Im Focus: Wafer-thin Magnetic Materials Developed for Future Quantum Technologies

Two-dimensional magnetic structures are regarded as a promising material for new types of data storage, since the magnetic properties of individual molecular building blocks can be investigated and modified. For the first time, researchers have now produced a wafer-thin ferrimagnet, in which molecules with different magnetic centers arrange themselves on a gold surface to form a checkerboard pattern. Scientists at the Swiss Nanoscience Institute at the University of Basel and the Paul Scherrer Institute published their findings in the journal Nature Communications.

Ferrimagnets are composed of two centers which are magnetized at different strengths and point in opposing directions. Two-dimensional, quasi-flat ferrimagnets...

Im Focus: World's thinnest hologram paves path to new 3-D world

Nano-hologram paves way for integration of 3-D holography into everyday electronics

An Australian-Chinese research team has created the world's thinnest hologram, paving the way towards the integration of 3D holography into everyday...

Im Focus: Using graphene to create quantum bits

In the race to produce a quantum computer, a number of projects are seeking a way to create quantum bits -- or qubits -- that are stable, meaning they are not much affected by changes in their environment. This normally needs highly nonlinear non-dissipative elements capable of functioning at very low temperatures.

In pursuit of this goal, researchers at EPFL's Laboratory of Photonics and Quantum Measurements LPQM (STI/SB), have investigated a nonlinear graphene-based...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Marine Conservation: IASS Contributes to UN Ocean Conference in New York on 5-9 June

24.05.2017 | Event News

AWK Aachen Machine Tool Colloquium 2017: Internet of Production for Agile Enterprises

23.05.2017 | Event News

Dortmund MST Conference presents Individualized Healthcare Solutions with micro and nanotechnology

22.05.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Physicists discover mechanism behind granular capillary effect

24.05.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Measured for the first time: Direction of light waves changed by quantum effect

24.05.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Marine Conservation: IASS Contributes to UN Ocean Conference in New York on 5-9 June

24.05.2017 | Event News

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>