SILVER SPRING, MD (Dec. 30, 2009) – An article published in the Dec. 29 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association reports that ginkgo biloba extract is ineffective in reducing cognitive decline in older adults with normal cognition or with mild cognitive impairment. 

The article presents the findings of a secondary analysis of data from the randomized double-blind Ginkgo Evaluation of Memory (GEM) study, the results of which were published in November, 2008. The original GEM trial followed 3,069 individuals of age 75 or older assigned to either placebo or 120 mg twice-daily ginkgo extract (Schwabe’s EGb 761®). The primary outcome analysis of the original GEM study found Ginkgo biloba extract ineffective for preventing dementia even though the incidence of development of dementia was lower than expected, and 40 percent of the active group was not compliant in taking their ginkgo. 

The most recent publication involved a review of the data generated in the original GEM study to see if ginkgo slowed the rate of cognitive decline in the study participants. “The data review conducted for this article suffers from the same limitations as the original GEM study with an additional challenge due to the testing schedule not being ideally suited for this new endpoint,” said American Herbal Products Association (AHPA) Chief Science Officer, Steven Dentali, Ph.D.

“Furthermore, as with the primary findings of the GEM study, the findings of the secondary analysis in no way undermines what has already been observed with regard to the usefulness of ginkgo extract, and EGb 761 in particular, in providing symptomatic relief in persons who already suffer from dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. Also what has not yet been published, but is clear from a review of the study data, is that the common supposition of increased risk of bleeding from EGb 761 ingestion turns out not to be true.” said Dentali (See the AHPA Update of Nov. 18, 2008 for more information).

To view the abstract of the JAMA study, click here

To view AHPA’s response to the finding of the 2008 GEM study, click here.