The risk of Alzheimer's disease can be reduced by 47 percent with the long term use of ginkgo biloba extract, claims a new study.
In the French GuidAge study, groups of elderly people with memory complaints were randomly assigned 240 milligrams per day of ginkgo extract, or a placebo, to be taken daily.
Researchers found that four years later, 29 out of 966 people who were given the placebo developed Alzheimer's disease, compared with 15 out of 947 of the subjects who took the ginkgo extract EGb 761.
Professor Michael Habs, Managing Director at Dr. Willmar Schwabe Pharmaceuticals, producers of EGb 761, described the study as 'remarkable.'
"It is the first time ever that a protective effect against Alzheimer's disease has been demonstrated for a medicine. The multifaceted effects of the plant extract appear to positively influence the complex developmental processes of dementia," the Daily Telegraph quoted Habs as saying.
Professor Ralf Ihl, director of the Department of Geriatric Psychiatry at Germany's Dusseldorf University, said: "There have been hints that ginkgo biloba may exert a preventive effect. With the findings of this study we have first scientifically verifiable results suggesting that the extract may be useful for preventing the development of Alzheimer's disease."