Gingko Biloba Shown to Not Help Cognitive Issues in MS

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.


Comments are closed here.


Related Articles

Seeing Combat Can Make Aging More Difficult for Veterans

PORTLAND, OR—Being exposed to combat makes a significant difference in how military veterans fare during aging, according to a new study, which also found that the experience increases the risk for depression and anxiety later... View Article

Top VISN 7 Officials Removed After Cancer Patient Attacked by Insects

Elderly AF Veteran Had More Than 100 Ant Bites Before Death ATLANTA—Nine VA employees, including the VISN 7 director and chief medical officer, have been reassigned following reports that an elderly patient at the Atlanta... View Article


U.S. Medicine Recommends


More From department of veterans affairs

Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)

Seeing Combat Can Make Aging More Difficult for Veterans

PORTLAND, OR—Being exposed to combat makes a significant difference in how military veterans fare during aging, according to a new study, which also found that the experience increases the risk for depression and anxiety later... View Article

Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)

Top VISN 7 Officials Removed After Cancer Patient Attacked by Insects

Elderly AF Veteran Had More Than 100 Ant Bites Before Death ATLANTA—Nine VA employees, including the VISN 7 director and chief medical officer, have been reassigned following reports that an elderly patient at the Atlanta... View Article

Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)

Women, Chronically Ill Veterans Value Veterans Choice Access Most

HINES, IL—Women and veterans with multiple comorbidities used and valued the Veterans Choice Program (VCP) more than other veterans, according to recent research by the VA.1 To help these veterans and others, the VA has... View Article

Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)

VA Facing Critical Healthcare Staffing Shortages in Near Future

Replacing Retirees Hampered by Lower Salaries WASHINGTON—Oversight agencies are sounding the alarm that VA is plagued with large staffing shortages in critical areas, including physicians, registered nurses, physician assistants, psychologists and physical therapists, as well... View Article

Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)

Processes Similar in Schizophrenia, Psychotic Biopolar Disorder

NASHVILLE, TN—Processes leading to impairment in schizophrenia and psychotic bipolar disorder might be more similar than previously assumed, according to a new study. The report in Schizophrenia Research pointed out that neuropsychological impairment is common... View Article

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