Background: Mild cognitive impairment encompasses the clinical continuum between physiologic age-related cognitive changes and dementia. A variety of medications, including herbal preparations (in particular Ginkgo biloba and Panax ginseng), have been advocated as treatments for cognitive impairment in the elderly. In this study, we investigated the effect of an already marketed dietary supplement (Memo®) combining 750 mg of lyophilized royal jelly with standardized extracts of G. biloba 120 mg and P. ginseng 150 mg on Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE) scores in patients with mild cognitive impairment.
Methods: Sixty-six subjects presenting with forgetfulness and satisfying the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 4th Edition, Text Revision (DSM-IV-TR) clinical criteria for mild cognitive impairment were randomly divided into an experimental group treated with one Memo capsule before breakfast daily for 4 weeks and a control group who took placebo. The mean change in MMSE score from baseline and reported adverse effects were compared between the two groups.
Results: The mean change in MMSE score in the group treated with Memo for 4 weeks was significantly greater than in the control group (+2.07 versus +0.13, respectively) by the Student's t-test (t = 6.485, P < 0.0001). This was also true after adjusting for age as a covariate and educational level as a factor nested within the treatment groups in a general linear model (analysis of covariance, F = 9.675 [corrected model], P < 0.0001).
Conclusion: This combined triple formula may be beneficial in treating the cognitive decline that occurs during the aging process as well as in the early phases of pathologic cognitive impairment typical of insidious-onset vascular dementia and in the early stages of Alzheimer's disease. Larger-sized studies with longer treatment durations are needed to confirm this.
Keywords: Alzheimer’s disease; Mini-Mental State Examination; mild cognitive impairment; vascular dementia.