Ginkgo Biloba Extracts Show Early Promise in Enhancing Cognitive Recovery Post-Stroke

Ginkgo Biloba Extracts Show Early Promise in Enhancing Cognitive Recovery Post-Stroke. A preliminary investigation has unveiled that administering intravenous injections containing ginkgo biloba extracts could notably enhance cognitive functions at the early stages of recovery in patients who have suffered from ischemic strokes. This multi-center research conducted in China involved the participation of 3,163 individuals who had experienced a stroke. It revealed that those treated with ginkgo diterpene lactone meglumine (GDLM) exhibited significant cognitive improvements when compared to a control group given a placebo.

The study attributes the positive outcomes to GDLM’s ability to protect neural cells through antioxidant and anti-inflammatory actions, potentially opening a new pathway for improving cognitive abilities following a stroke. Despite the encouraging results, which were funded by the pharmaceutical company producing the drug, further studies are necessary to fully ascertain GDLM’s effectiveness and safety for clinical application.

Important details from the study include:

  •  Patients receiving GDLM showed remarkable cognitive advancements over those who were administered a placebo, indicating its possible efficacy in aiding stroke recovery.
  • The injections contain active elements derived from ginkgo biloba, a plant traditionally utilized in Chinese medicine known for its antioxidant properties.
  • The promising findings from this study underscore the need for broader trials to validate GDLM’s safety and effectiveness in stroke rehabilitation, highlighting the careful consideration required when integrating alternative medicines into cardiovascular healthcare.

According to a report by the American Heart Association, people who have suffered ischemic strokes showed improved cognitive recovery when treated with intravenous injections of ginkgo biloba active components within the initial two weeks post-stroke. This study is to be discussed at the upcoming International Stroke Conference 2024 in Phoenix, which is a leading event for stroke and brain health scientists and clinicians worldwide.

Ginkgo biloba, derived from the leaves and seeds of one of the oldest tree species native to East Asia, is commonly used in Chinese medicine and is available as a supplement in the U.S. While it’s popular for its potential neuroprotective antioxidant properties in China, the U.S. FDA has not approved ginkgo biloba for medicinal use due to insufficient evidence supporting its efficacy.

Ginkgo Biloba Extracts Show Early Promise in Enhancing Cognitive Recovery Post-Stroke

The study in question, published early in 2023, was a multicenter trial from China that showed improved recovery from stroke symptoms in patients treated with daily GDLM injections, focusing on cognitive improvements in this cohort. Participants, averaging 63 years old and comprising 36% women, were randomly assigned to receive either GDLM or a placebo via daily intravenous injections starting within 48 hours of their stroke for 14 days. Cognitive functions were evaluated using the Montreal Cognitive Assessment scale before treatment, after 14 days, and at 90 days.

Findings indicated significant cognitive improvements by day 14 and even more so by day 90 in those treated with GDLM compared to the placebo group. The research highlights GDLM’s potential in improving cognitive function post-acute ischemic stroke, with further studies needed to explore long-term effects.

GDLM’s neuroprotective capabilities are believed to stem from various mechanisms, including vasodilation, enhanced brain cell tolerance to hypoxia, and increased cerebral blood flow, along with antioxidative, anti-inflammatory, and anti-apoptosis properties. It may also promote the secretion of chemicals that could help prevent neurodegenerative diseases like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s.

The American Heart Association has cautioned that while there may be benefits, there are also significant risks associated with complementary and alternative medicines. Patients with cardiovascular diseases, including stroke, are advised to consult their healthcare providers before using supplements like ginkgo biloba. Future clinical trials confirming these preliminary results could make GDLM a valuable tool in post-stroke care, pending demonstration of its efficacy and safety to the standards required for FDA approval.


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About the Author: Bernard Aybout

In the land of bytes and bits, a father of three sits, With a heart for tech and coding kits, in IT he never quits. At Magna's door, he took his stance, in Canada's wide expanse, At Karmax Heavy Stamping - Cosma's dance, he gave his career a chance. With a passion deep for teaching code, to the young minds he showed, The path where digital seeds are sowed, in critical thinking mode. But alas, not all was bright and fair, at Magna's lair, oh despair, Harassment, intimidation, a chilling air, made the workplace hard to bear. Management's maze and morale's dip, made our hero's spirit flip, In a demoralizing grip, his well-being began to slip. So he bid adieu to Magna's scene, from the division not so serene, Yet in tech, his interest keen, continues to inspire and convene.