Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Researchers put gingko on trial for treatment of dementia

19.08.2004


Researchers in London are to explore the effectiveness of gingko, a complementary medicine traditionally used to treat circulatory problems, as a treatment for early dementia.

The study of 250 patients aged over 55 will seek to find out whether GPs can help patients by prescribing the supplement to those with memory loss, one of the early symptoms of dementia.

It will be the first to test gingko as a treatment for those who are still living in the community and are being treated by their GP. Previous trials have concentrated on patients receiving hospital care, where the condition is often more advanced.



“We believe gingko may prove more effective if prescribed in a community setting, where patients’ symptoms are usually less severe,” says Dr James Warner, a psychiatrist from Imperial College London and St Mary’s Hospital, who is leading the study. “This trial will help us to find out whether with gingko it’s a case of ‘the sooner the better’, for patients who may benefit from taking it.”

Gingko is believed to cause blood vessels to dilate, improving blood flow to the brain, and to thin the blood, making it less likely to clot. Gingko may also have antioxidant effects, protecting nerve cells against biological ‘rusting’.

“All of these effects would suggest that gingko might slow down a degenerative process such as dementia,” says Dr Warner.

It is estimated that 700,000 people in the United Kingdom are affected by the condition, 60 per cent of whom are diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. Patients might occasionally misunderstand who or where they are, forget people’s names or how to get home.

Gingko could provide a cheaper alternative to conventional medicines, with fewer of the potential side effects such as nausea, loss of appetite, tiredness and diarrhoea. A quality gingko extract taken from the Gingko biloba tree costs around £200 for a year’s supply. It is currently available over the counter in the UK, most European countries and the United States.

Conventional medicines for memory loss are based upon a class of drugs known as cholinesterase inhibitors, which cost around £1,000 a year, and prescription of these drugs is restricted. Some patients also benefit from therapies such as music therapy, aromatherapy and reminiscence therapy, which keep the environment stimulating and encourage the use of the brain.

Participants on the double-blind trial will continue to take their conventional medicines for age-associated memory loss. For six months they will be given 60mg of gingko extract or a placebo twice daily. Participants will also receive up to three visits of one and a half hours where researchers will examine each individual’s cognitive functioning, their memory, quality of life and behaviour.

Robert McCarney, research associate on the study adds “We are now recruiting individuals living in or around London and the home counties, aged over 55 and whom their GP suspects may have dementia. Anyone interested in finding out more about the study should telephone 020 7886 7697”.

For general information relating to age-associated memory loss or Alzheimer’s disease, contact The Alzheimer’s Society helpline on 0845 300 0336.

The study is being carried out by Imperial College London in collaboration with the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, the Royal London Homeopathic Hospital and University College London. The Alzheimer’s Society is funding the research.

Gingko facts

  • Fossilised remains of the ancient tree have been found dating back 200 million years.
  • It has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for at least 5,000 years.
  • In Germany, gingko is of the top 10 prescription medicines for the treatment of circulatory problems. Germans spent 280 million dollars on gingko in 1993.
  • Four gingko trees survived the atomic bomb in Hiroshima in August 1945, leading local people to name the tree the ‘bearer of hope’.
  • The tree inspired Goethe’s poem Gingko Biloba.
  • The gingko tree can grow up to forty metres tall and can achieve a spread of nine metres.

Laura Gallagher | alfa
Further information:
http://www.imperial.ac.uk

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht NIST scientists discover how to switch liver cancer cell growth from 2-D to 3-D structures
17.11.2017 | National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)

nachricht High speed video recording precisely measures blood cell velocity
15.11.2017 | ITMO University

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 “cosmic snake” reveals the structure of remote galaxies

The formation of stars in distant galaxies is still largely unexplored. For the first time, astron-omers at the University of Geneva have now been able to closely observe a star system six billion light-years away. In doing so, they are confirming earlier simulations made by the University of Zurich. One special effect is made possible by the multiple reflections of images that run through the cosmos like a snake.

Today, astronomers have a pretty accurate idea of how stars were formed in the recent cosmic past. But do these laws also apply to older galaxies? For around a...

Im Focus: Visual intelligence is not the same as IQ

Just because someone is smart and well-motivated doesn't mean he or she can learn the visual skills needed to excel at tasks like matching fingerprints, interpreting medical X-rays, keeping track of aircraft on radar displays or forensic face matching.

That is the implication of a new study which shows for the first time that there is a broad range of differences in people's visual ability and that these...

Im Focus: Novel Nano-CT device creates high-resolution 3D-X-rays of tiny velvet worm legs

Computer Tomography (CT) is a standard procedure in hospitals, but so far, the technology has not been suitable for imaging extremely small objects. In PNAS, a team from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) describes a Nano-CT device that creates three-dimensional x-ray images at resolutions up to 100 nanometers. The first test application: Together with colleagues from the University of Kassel and Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht the researchers analyzed the locomotory system of a velvet worm.

During a CT analysis, the object under investigation is x-rayed and a detector measures the respective amount of radiation absorbed from various angles....

Im Focus: Researchers Develop Data Bus for Quantum Computer

The quantum world is fragile; error correction codes are needed to protect the information stored in a quantum object from the deteriorating effects of noise. Quantum physicists in Innsbruck have developed a protocol to pass quantum information between differently encoded building blocks of a future quantum computer, such as processors and memories. Scientists may use this protocol in the future to build a data bus for quantum computers. The researchers have published their work in the journal Nature Communications.

Future quantum computers will be able to solve problems where conventional computers fail today. We are still far away from any large-scale implementation,...

Im Focus: Wrinkles give heat a jolt in pillared graphene

Rice University researchers test 3-D carbon nanostructures' thermal transport abilities

Pillared graphene would transfer heat better if the theoretical material had a few asymmetric junctions that caused wrinkles, according to Rice University...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Ecology Across Borders: International conference brings together 1,500 ecologists

15.11.2017 | Event News

Road into laboratory: Users discuss biaxial fatigue-testing for car and truck wheel

15.11.2017 | Event News

#Berlin5GWeek: The right network for Industry 4.0

30.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

NASA detects solar flare pulses at Sun and Earth

17.11.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

NIST scientists discover how to switch liver cancer cell growth from 2-D to 3-D structures

17.11.2017 | Health and Medicine

The importance of biodiversity in forests could increase due to climate change

17.11.2017 | Studies and Analyses

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>