Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Ginkgo biloba doesn't prevent dementia, study finds

Long touted as an elixir of eternal mental acuity, the herbal extract ginkgo biloba in fact does not prevent or delay the progression of dementia or Alzheimer's disease, according to a clinical trial reported today involving thousands of volunteers between the ages of 75 and 96.

The subjects swallowed round, reddish tablets twice a day for an average of more than six years, but at the end of the study, those who got ginkgo biloba were slightly more likely to be diagnosed with dementia and Alzheimer's than their counterparts who received dummy pills.

The results, published in the Journal of the American Medical Assn., are sure to disappoint the millions of people who take ginkgo in the hopes of boosting their brainpower and staving off the ravages of dementia and Alzheimer's, which affect more than 5.2 million Americans. Alzheimer's passed diabetes two years ago as the sixth-leading cause of death in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
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