Ginkgo biloba 'does not stop Alzheimer's'

 

A Chinese herb claimed to improve memory and mental sharpness is not able to prevent Alzheimer's disease, scientists have found.

Researchers in France tested the effect of Ginkgo biloba on more than 2,800 elderly volunteers who took the supplement over five years.

Half the participants, who were all aged 70 or older, were given twice-daily doses of Ginkgo and half received an inactive placebo.

During the trial, rates of dementia and Alzheimer's symptoms hardly differed between the two groups.

A total of 61 people who were given Ginkgo were diagnosed with Alzheimer's - the most common dementia disease - compared to 73 people in the placebo group.

Alzheimer's Society spokeswoman Jess Smith said: "It is understandable that people would want to hear that an over-the-counter herbal remedy could be the answer to preventing Alzheimer's.

"For a while it was hoped that Ginkgo biloba could be the wonder drug.

"However, in recent years evidence - including a previous study by Alzheimer's Society - has repeatedly shown that it does not have any benefits in preventing the disease or slowing down symptoms.

"One in three people over 65 will develop dementia. The best way for people to reduce their risk is to eat a healthy diet, exercise regularly, not smoke and keep their cholesterol levels in check."

Researchers also found no significant difference between the number of people who died or developed a stroke.

Results from the study by the University of Toulouse were published today in The Lancet Neurology. It is only the third Alzheimer's prevention trial to be completed and the first to be done outside the USA.

Many people use Ginkgo leaf extracts to improve memory or treat or prevent Alzheimer's and other types of dementia.

Other ways the herb is used include treating sexual dysfunction, multiple sclerosis and leg pain caused by narrowing arteries.

In Europe and the US, Ginkgo supplements are among the best-selling herbal medicines.

One in three people over 65 will die with dementia, the Alzheimer's Society said.

About 800,000 people in the UK have a form of dementia, with more than half diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease.

It is estimated that one million people will be living with dementia in a decade's time, with 1.7 million people diagnosed by 2051.

Professor Bruno Vellas, lead author of the study, said: "While our trial appears to have shown that regular use of ginkgo biloba does not protect elderly patients from progression to Alzheimer's disease, more studies are needed on long-term exposure.

"The fact that prevalence of this debilitating disorder is expected to quadruple by 2050 suggests that research into preventative therapies for this disease needs to receive urgent attention."

PA

PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
ebookA wonderful selection of salads, starters and mains featuring venison, grouse and other game
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    CRM Data Analyst – Part time – Permanent – Surrey – Circa £28,000 pro rata

    £15000 - £16800 Per Annum Plus excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions...

    Mechanical Design Engineer

    competitive: Progressive Recruitment: A key client in the East Midlands are re...

    Year 5/6 Teacher

    £21000 - £31000 per day: Randstad Education Chelmsford: The JobWe are looking ...

    Teacher

    £90 - £120 per day: Randstad Education Chelmsford: The Job...Due to continued ...

    Day In a Page

    A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting

    A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

    Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting
    Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

    Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

    In the final part of our series, Chris Green arrives in Glasgow - a host city struggling to keep the politics out of its celebration of sport
    Out in the cold: A writer spends a night on the streets and hears the stories of the homeless

    A writer spends a night on the streets

    Rough sleepers - the homeless, the destitute and the drunk - exist in every city. Will Nicoll meets those whose luck has run out
    Striking new stations, high-speed links and (whisper it) better services - the UK's railways are entering a new golden age

    UK's railways are entering a new golden age

    New stations are opening across the country and our railways appear to be entering an era not seen in Britain since the early 1950s
    Conchita Wurst becomes a 'bride' on the Paris catwalk - and proves there is life after Eurovision

    Conchita becomes a 'bride' on Paris catwalk

    Alexander Fury salutes the Eurovision Song Contest winner's latest triumph
    Pétanque World Championship in Marseilles hit by

    Pétanque 'world cup' hit by death threats

    This year's most acrimonious sporting event took place in France, not Brazil. How did pétanque get so passionate?
    Whelks are healthy, versatile and sustainable - so why did we stop eating them in the UK?

    Why did we stop eating whelks?

    Whelks were the Victorian equivalent of the donor kebab and our stocks are abundant. So why do we now export them all to the Far East?
    10 best women's sunglasses

    In the shade: 10 best women's sunglasses

    From luxury bespoke eyewear to fun festival sunnies, we round up the shades to be seen in this summer
    Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014: Lionel Messi? Javier Mascherano is key for Argentina...

    World Cup final: Messi? Mascherano is key for Argentina...

    No 10 is always centre of attention but Barça team-mate is just as crucial to finalists’ hopes
    Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer knows she needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

    Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

    18-year-old says this month’s Commonwealth Games are a key staging post in her career before time slips away
    The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

    The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

    A future Palestine state will have no borders and be an enclave within Israel, surrounded on all sides by Israeli-held territory, says Robert Fisk
    A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: The German people demand an end to the fighting

    A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

    The German people demand an end to the fighting
    New play by Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials

    New play reveals what Oscar Wilde said at trials

    For a century, what Wilde actually said at his trials was a mystery. But the recent discovery of shorthand notes changed that. Now his grandson Merlin Holland has turned them into a play
    Can scientists save the world's sea life from

    Can scientists save our sea life?

    By the end of the century, the only living things left in our oceans could be plankton and jellyfish. Alex Renton meets the scientists who are trying to turn the tide
    Richard III, Trafalgar Studios, review: Martin Freeman gives highly intelligent performance

    Richard III review

    Martin Freeman’s psychotic monarch is big on mockery but wanting in malice