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Herbal Science Organization Clarifies New Ginkgo Study
Date:12/29/2009

AUSTIN, Texas, Dec. 29 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- New research findings published this week on a standardized Ginkgo biloba extract are very limited and the public should focus on the well-documented cognitive and cardiovascular benefits of ginkgo, said the American Botanical Council (ABC), an independent nonprofit research and education organization.

A new study of previously published data being published in this week's issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) has reported that a leading ginkgo extract did not reduce the decline in cognitive impairment in older adults. (1, 2)

"There are many significant limitations of this study," said Mark Blumenthal, ABC founder and executive director.

First, the data being published this week are drawn from a previous clinical trial which was not designed to determine the decline in cognition. (3) Second, about 40% of the subjects dropped out over the 6-year duration of the trial; the statistics reported in the study include the dropouts for which no final data are available. Further, the subjects in the study were not monitored for certain cognitive parameters until several years after the trial began, creating difficulty in determining accurately whether they experienced a decline in cognition or not. Also, the age of the subjects is quite advanced, at an average of 79 years at the beginning of the trial. This age group is not typical of the age of both healthy people and those with mild cognitive impairment who use ginkgo for improving mental performance.

Further, ABC noted that another weakness of this trial is the lack of an active control, i.e., a potential third arm of the trial (i.e., besides the patients on ginkgo or placebo) in which patients would have used a pharmaceutical medication with presumed efficacy, to determine to what extent the particular population being tested would respond. This was not possible f
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SOURCE American Botanical Council
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