Ginkgo May Slow Mental Deterioration in MS Patients

Posted on: 05/06/2002

SAN DIEGO–Ginkgo biloba may be beneficial for cognition in patients with mild multiple clerosis (MS), according to researchers from the University of California, San Diego, who presented their findings at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Neurology (, held in Denver April 13 to 20. Because previous evidence has suggested ginkgo may slow cognitive decline in Alzheimer’s patients, researchers sought to determine whether the herb could benefit MS patients who commonly suffer reduced cognitive function.

The double blind, placebo-controlled, modified crossover trial followed 21 patients with mild MS for six months. One group was randomized to placebo for three months before crossing over to ginkgo biloba (240 mg/d) for another three months. The second group was randomized to ginkgo biloba for six months.

At baseline, three months and six months, patients underwent rigorous neuropsychological testing, in addition to answering questions about quality of life and fatigue. At three months, the ginkgo group exhibited statistically significant differences in performance on the Paced Auditory Serial Addition Test and the Perceived Deficits Questionnaire (PDQ) of the Multiple Sclerosis Quality of Life Index than at baseline compared to placebo. In addition, while there was no significant difference between self-reporting of cognitive abilities in the PDQ, there was an extremely significant correlation between patients’ self-reports of cognitive abilities and fatigue in the ginkgo group as compared to placebo.

Researchers concluded that ginkgo biloba, in doses of 240 mg/d, is well-tolerated and may show beneficial effects on attention, memory and functioning in patients with mild MS. However, they added that additional research on larger sample sizes for longer durations will be needed to support these findings.

Source:  Natural Products Industry Insider, May 6, 2002

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