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Gingko Biloba Brings no Benefit to MS Patients

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Gingko Biloba Brings no Benefit to MS Patients

The researchers found that the Gingko biloba supplemets bring no benefit to patients with multiple sclerosis. Led by Dr. Jesus Lovera, Assistant Professor of Neurology at LSU Health Sciences Center New Orleans, researchers wanted to verify the results of an earlier study conducted on a small group of patients with multiple sclerosis that showed an improvement in cognitive function. Gingko biloba is a drug extracted from a tree originating in China. Ginkgo biloba has been used over time as food and medicine for treating various diseases.

Gingko Biloba

In medicine, Ginkgo biloba is  used to treat neurological diseases such as multiple sclerosis or Alzheimer’s disease, although the results are controversial. It seems that Gingko biloba improves blood circulation and has antioxidant properties. But now research shows that this drug is not of much use to MS patients. Regarding the effects of this drug on blood flow, it seems that Gingko biloba prevents platelet aggregation, in other words it prevents blood clots. In addition, it was also speculated that Gingko biloba protects cells from oxidative stress through antioxidant effect. Also, Ginkgo biloba has been proposed as a treatment for Alzheimer’s disease because it was thought that improves memory. Memory effects are probably due the improvement in blood flow to the brain. In addition, there have been reported effects on neuronal metabolism and effects on the catabolism of neurotransmitters such as dopamine, acetylcholine and norepinephrine.

Now researchers at LSU Health Sciences Center New Orleans, led by Dr. Jesus Lovera, evaluated the effects of Gingko biloba supplements on one hundred twenty people with multiple sclerosis. Study participants were randomized to receive Gingko Biloba (120mg) twice a day or placebo tablets. The study lasted 12 weeks and after treatment patients underwent cognitive tests to see if the Gingko biloba therapy had any effect. Both study participants and their families responded to standardized questionnaires about cognitive function. Dr. Lovera said unfortunately study showed that Gingko biloba does not bring any improvement to multiple sclerosis patients. She added that although Gingko biloba has been proposed as a treatment for Alzheimer’s patients, it is not effective for those with multiple sclerosis.

However, the study conducted by researchers at LSU Health Sciences Center New Orleans, has some limitations. Treatment duration was only 12 weeks, and the effects of Gingko biloba supplements may improve cognitive function when administered for a longer period. Also it must be taken into consideration that MS patients included in the study had this disease for 20 years. This means that Gingko biloba can be effective if it were given earlier.