Cognitive performance, SPECT, and blood viscosity in elderly non-demented people using Ginkgo biloba

Pharmacopsychiatry. 2003 Jul;36(4):127-33. doi: 10.1055/s-2003-41197.


The aging process is associated with several cognitive alterations. This study looks at the effects of taking dried extract of Ginkgo biloba, which has been used in several countries in an attempt to minimize these effects. The subjects were 48 men aged 60 - 70 matched between control and experimental groups for educational level. Evaluation was based on a number of neuropsychological tests in an attempt to cover the largest possible number of functions including Single Photon Emission Computer Tomography (SPECT) and measures of blood viscosity. The study was run on a double-blind basis with placebo and Ginkgo biloba groups evaluated over a period of 8 months. After treatment, the experimental group showed a reduction in blood viscosity, improved cerebral perfusion in specific areas and improved global cognitive functioning. The control group showed the opposite - higher blood viscosity, a reduction in cerebral perfusion (in specific areas), and cognitive deterioration in different functions. Although the mechanisms by which Ginkgo biloba may contribute to overall enhancement of the parameters evaluated have not been specified, this plant extract certainly appears to be effective in the treatment of cognitive deficits in older people. Further research into its use is called for on the basis of the results obtained here.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Blood Viscosity / drug effects*
  • Brain / diagnostic imaging
  • Brain / drug effects
  • Brain / physiology
  • Cognition / drug effects*
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Ginkgo biloba*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology
  • Tomography, Emission-Computed, Single-Photon


  • Plant Extracts