Gingko biloba does not prevent dementia

A large-scale randomised trial has found no link between the popular herbal remedy and memory preservation.

A large-scale randomised controlled trial has found no link between Gingko biloba (G biloba) and a reduced risk of dementia, according to a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Several smaller studies had previously suggested that the herbal remedy could be used to preserve memory and prevent the onset of dementia.

But the GEM study, which tracked 3,060 elderly participants with normal cognition for over six years, found no evidence to support this.

“To our knowledge, the GEM Study is the largest and first adequately powered randomised clinical trial conducted to evaluate the effect of G biloba on dementia incidence,” the researchers said.

“The GEM Study specifically enrolled a population at increased risk for dementia whose mean age was older than 75 years at initiation of the trial.”

About half of the participants took a 120mg dosage of G biloba twice-daily, while the other half took a placebo drug.

At the end of the trial, 523 individuals had developed dementia. Of those, 277 were receiving G biloba and 246 were receiving the placebo.

“The adverse event profiles for G biloba and placebo were similar and there were no statistically significant differences in the rate of serious adverse events,” the study said.

“Based on the results of this trial, G biloba cannot be recommended for the purpose of preventing dementia,” the authors concluded.

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