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Neurology. 2012 Sep 18;79(12):1278-84. doi: 10.1212/WNL.0b013e31826aac60. Epub 2012 Sep 5.

Ginkgo biloba does not improve cognitive function in MS: a randomized placebo-controlled trial.

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  • 1Department of Neurology, Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center, New Orleans, USA.



To determine whether Ginkgo biloba extract (ginkgo) improves cognitive function in persons with multiple sclerosis (MS).


Persons with MS from the Seattle and Portland VA clinics and adjacent communities who scored 1 SD or more below the mean on one of 4 neuropsychological tests (Stroop Test, California Verbal Learning Test II [CVLT-II], Controlled Oral Word Association Test [COWAT], and Paced Auditory Serial Addition Task [PASAT]) were randomly assigned to receive either one 120-mg tablet of ginkgo (EGb-761; Willmar Schwabe GmbH & Co, Germany) or one placebo tablet twice a day for 12 weeks. As the primary outcome, we compared the performance of the 2 groups on the 4 tests at exit after adjusting for baseline performance.


Fifty-nine subjects received placebo and 61 received ginkgo; 1 participant receiving placebo and 3 receiving ginkgo were lost to follow-up. Two serious adverse events (AEs) (myocardial infarction and severe depression) believed to be unrelated to the treatment occurred in the ginkgo group; otherwise, there were no significant differences in AEs. The differences (ginkgo - placebo) at exit in the z scores for the cognitive tests were as follows: PASAT -0.2 (95% confidence interval [CI] -0.5 to 0.1); Stroop Test -0.5 (95% CI -0.9 to -0.1); COWAT 0.0 (95% CI -0.2 to 0.3); and CVLT-II 0.0 (95% CI -0.3 to 0.3); none was statistically significant.


Treatment with ginkgo 120 mg twice a day did not improve cognitive performance in persons with MS.


This study provides Class I evidence that treatment with ginkgo 120 mg twice a day for 12 weeks does not improve cognitive performance in people with MS.

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