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Ginkgo Won't Prevent Heart Attack, Stroke in Elderly
Date:11/24/2009

207 had chest pain, the researchers found.

There was no significant difference between those taking ginkgo or placebo for any of these outcomes, Kuller said.

However, among the 35 people who were treated for peripheral artery disease, 23 received placebo and 12 were taking ginkgo -- a statistically significance difference, the researchers noted.

About 8 million Americans have peripheral artery disease, which typically affects the arteries in the pelvis and legs. Symptoms include cramping and pain or tiredness in the hip muscles and legs when walking or climbing stairs, although not everyone who has PAD is symptomatic. The pain usually subsides during rest.

"This study demonstrated that there were absolutely no benefits of ginkgo biloba in reducing cardiovascular events such as heart attack or stroke or in reducing death due to cardiovascular disease," said Dr. Gregg A. Fonarow, a professor of cardiovascular medicine at the University of California, Los Angeles.

"Individuals interested in maintaining cardiovascular health should stick to interventions that have been proven to be beneficial, including not smoking, engaging in regular exercise, and maintaining healthy weight, blood pressure and cholesterol levels rather than taking herbal supplements," Fonarow said.

Mark Blumenthal, founder and executive director of the American Botanical Council, which represents the herbals industry, pointed to the study's more positive outcome.

"I believe it is important to emphasize that the results of this current exploratory trial do not in any manner reduce or negate the existing positive results of ginkgo biloba as an effective treatment in peripheral artery disease patients, which has been evaluated, confirmed, and approved by government regulatory drug authorities in leading Western European countries like Germany and France," he said.

In addition, Blumenthal said, the trial showed that ginkgo
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