Does ginkgo biloba boost brain function?

LOS ANGELES Growing older often means dealing with mental challenges like concentrating while playing a hand of bridge, trying to figure out a jigsaw puzzle or even following along in an exercise class.

Ginkgo biloba, which is an herb, is thought by many to improve cognitive function, help with memory and just generally boost brain power for seniors

But a new study in the Journal of the American Medical Association shows ginkgo may have little or no effect when it comes to that.

"What we can say is that we find no evidence that ginkgo, over this long period of time made a difference in whether someone's slow change in memory function, as a function of normal aging, was affected at all by the medication," said Dr. Steven DeKosky of the University of Virginia School of Medicine.

University of Virginia researchers have been other studies on ginkgo biloba, but most weren't long enough or consistent enough to produce a reliable result. In this study, 3,000 seniors ages 72 to 96 were observed.

"This is the first and so far the only study that has looked specifically at its ability to prevent decline," said DeKosky.

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