Ginkgo biloba extract compares to donepezil for treatment of Alzheimer’s Disease
Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) is one of the most feared conditions of aging. Some 6.5 million Americans currently suffer with the condition, and the number is expected to rise to 88 million by 2050. The older you get, the greater your risk of getting it. Worse, there is no known cure.
There are a handful of medications, however, that may improve symptoms and/or slow progression, one of them being donepezil (Aricept). Interestingly, recent research found that using Ginkgo biloba extract was just as effective.
The randomized trial compared three groups of participants, all of whom had been diagnosed with AD or mild cognitive impairment. Those who also had other dementias, cardiovascular diseases, or neurodegenerative diseases were eliminated from the six-month study. Participants were then divided into three groups: one got 150 mg three times daily of Ginkgo biloba extract, one group got 5 mg of donepezil daily, and one got both of the above doses of Ginkgo and donepezil.
At one month the Ginkgo group had higher scores than the donepezil group on Mini Mental State Examinations (MMSE), indicating less impairment. All three groups showed significant improvement at three and six months compared to baseline, including improvement in Assessment Scale-Cognitive Subscale scores, which evaluate memory and language skills.
At three months, scores for Instrumental Activities of Daily Living (IADL), which measure daily living skills like using a telephone or doing laundry, significantly improved in the Ginkgo group and the combined group.
Authors concluded that Ginkgo biloba extract is comparable to donepezil in the improvement of cognitive, behavioral, psychological, and global functions in people diagnosed with AD. They also added that combined treatment with Ginkgo and donepezil “seems to be unnecessary.” They ended by recommending further studies be conducted.