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Cardiovascular Health Channel
Reported October 13, 2008

Ginkgo Biloba Protects Brain from Stroke

(Ivanhoe Newswire) -- Ginkgo biloba has long been used as a natural brain booster. Now, researchers say it may also protect against brain damage after a stroke.

In a recent study, scientists gave rodents a100 milligrams per kilogram oral dose of the extract for one week, and then induced a stroke. Brain function and damage in the mice was assessed using various tests. Results showed those pretreated with the supplement had 50.9 percent less neurological dysfunction and 48.2 less brain damage compared to the mice who did not receive ginkgo biloba.

Brain damage from stroke can occur either from lack of blood in brain cells or because of an increase in free radicals at the stroke site when the blood flow is restored. Free radicals are oxygen molecules that harm cells. Currently, there is only one FDA-approved drug to treat stroke; tissue plasminogen activator (tPA), which dissolves blood clots, but does not protect from cell damage when blood flow returns. Researchers say ginkgo biloba could provide a preventive treatment option.

“If further work confirms what we’ve seen, we could theoretically recommend a daily regimen of ginkgo to people at high risk of stroke as a preventive measure against brain damage,” Sylvain Doré, Ph.D., lead researcher and an associate professor in the Department of Anesthesiology and Critical Care Medicine at Johns Hopkins in Baltimore, Md., was quoted as saying. “Now we have a possible understanding for how ginkgo actually works to protect neurons from damage.”

SOURCE: Stroke, published online October 9, 2008

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