Clinical Topics   /   Neurology

Gingko Biloba Shown to Not Help Cognitive Issues in MS

USM By U.S. Medicine
March 7, 2013

PORTLAND, OR – It might be a case of wishful thinking, but many multiple sclerosis patients use the natural supplement Gingko biloba in hopes that it will help counteract the cognitive problems that appear in half of those with the debilitating disease.

A small 2005 pilot study bolstered that optimism by suggesting the supplement might improve attention.

A more extensive new study, however, has dashed those hopes. The recent report in the journal Neurology says Gingko biloba does not improve cognitive performance in MS sufferers, based on a follow-up with patients at the Portland and Seattle VAMCs.1

“It’s important for scientists to continue to analyze what might help people with cognitive issues relating to their MS,” said Jesus Lovera, MD, the study’s lead author, formerly with the Portland VA and Oregon Health & Science University’s Department of Neurology but now at the Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center in Baton Rouge.

“We wanted to follow up on the earlier findings that suggested there may be some benefit,” he explained in a press release. “But we believe this larger study settles the question: Gingko simply doesn’t improve cognitive performance with MS patients.”

Dennis Bourdette, MD, study co-author and co-director of the VA MS Center of Excellence-West, said the most common cognitive problems in MS relate to memory, attention and concentration, and information processing.

The 2005 study, which Lovera also led, included 39 participants who were given Gingko biloba or a placebo. The new study included 120 participants given Gingko or a placebo.

1. Lovera JF, Kim E, Heriza E, Fitzpatrick M, et. al. Ginkgo biloba does not improve cognitive function in MS: a randomized placebo-controlled trial. Neurology. 2012 Sep 18;79(12):1278-84. doi: 10.1212/WNL.0b013e31826aac60. Epub 2012 Sep 5. PubMed PMID: 22955125; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3440446.


Related Articles

How Veterans Feel About Remote Management of Their Care

While implantable devices have shown promise in reducing rehospitalization for heart failure (HF), VA researchers sought to determine if options that are less expensive and non-invasive would have comparable results.

Legislation: Clinicians Must Be Involved in Formulary Design, Purchasing

Legislation to prevent VA from outsourcing creation of its drug formulary and to require more input from medical professions is being considered in Congress.


U.S. Medicine Recommends


More From department of veterans affairs

Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)

How Veterans Feel About Remote Management of Their Care

While implantable devices have shown promise in reducing rehospitalization for heart failure (HF), VA researchers sought to determine if options that are less expensive and non-invasive would have comparable results.

Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)

Legislation: Clinicians Must Be Involved in Formulary Design, Purchasing

Legislation to prevent VA from outsourcing creation of its drug formulary and to require more input from medical professions is being considered in Congress.

Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)

GAO: VA Needs Better Planning for ‘Complex’ Appeals System Overhaul

VA’s Consolidated Mail Outpatient Pharmacy (CMOP) in Charleston, SC. New legislation is seeking to increase clinician input into formulary decisionmaking. WASHINGTON — Legislation to prevent VA from outsourcing creation of its drug formulary and to... View Article

Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)

Community Providers Unprepared to Serve Veterans Under Choice Program

As the debate about increasing access for veterans to community-based provider heats up, a serious problem has emerged: Few providers outside the VA health system appear to be prepared to meet the unique challenges of the veteran population.

Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)

Former VA Secretary Nominee Claims Allegations Against Him Are False

Veterans’ groups expressed concern last month regarding a “lack of permanent leadership at the department,” after Rear Adm. Ronny L. Jackson, MD, withdrew his name from consideration as VA secretary amid anonymous allegations of misconduct.

Facebook Comment

Subscribe to U.S. Medicine Print Magazine

U.S. Medicine is mailed free each month to physicians, pharmacists, nurse practitioners, physician assistants and administrators working for Veterans Affairs, Department of Defense and U.S. Public Health Service.

Subscribe Now

Receive Our Email Newsletter

Stay informed about federal medical news, clinical updates and reports on government topics for the federal healthcare professional.

Sign Up