Trials involving Ginkgo biloba have demonstrated its usefulness in the treatment of a wide range of health conditions including macular degeneration, intermittent claudication and resistant depression. In this particular study, 40 patients diagnosed with senile dementia of the Alzheimer type received 80mg of gingko biloba three times daily for three months.
The SKT test was chosen to measure cognitive function, memory and attention and the Sandoz Clinical Assessment Geriatric Scale (SCAG) test to measure reaction time, saccadic eye movements (involuntary, abrupt, rapid small movements or jerks of both eyes simultaneously in changing the point of fixation) and EEG. These tests were carried out at the start of the trial and again at 1, 2 and 3 months.
Memory and attention, as measured by the SKT test improved significantly in the group receiving the ginkgo biloba extract after just 1 month and continued to improve throughout the 3 month trial. Psychopathology, psychomotor performance, functional dynamics and neurophysiology were shown to improve, demonstrating the positive influence of the Ginkgo biloba extract. The Ginkgo extract was well-tolerated and there were no side effects recorded during the trial.
Hofferberth, B. 1994. The efficacy of EGb 761 in patients with senile dementia of the Alzheimer type, a double-blind, placebo-controlled study on different levels of investigation.
Human Psychopharmacology 9: 215-22.
Evidence suggests that free radicals and platelet-activating factor (PAF) play important roles in the cognitive decline apparent in dementia. Ginkgo biloba’s antioxidant, PAF inhibiting and neuronal protective properties make it a useful tool for practitioners in slowing down cognitive decline in the elderly.
In this and other trials conducted using Ginkgo, researchers have used a Ginkgo biloba extract standardised at 24% ginkgo flavone glycosides and 6% terpenelactones, and not leaf powder which is the form in which the herb is so commonly presented in commercial properties and which appears to be of little therapeutic use