Arch Neurol November, 1998;55:1409-1415.
: Curr Pharm Des. 2004;10(3):261-4.
University of Leipzig, Department of Psychiatry, Liebigstr 22, D 04103 Leipzig, Germany. firstname.lastname@example.org
Ginkgo biloba extracts (EGb) are well-defined plant extracts. It has several indications as dementia, macula degeneration, tinnitus and winter depression. A review of the current and past literature about older people with Alzheimer's dementia or vascular dementia or age-associated memory impairment treated with Ginkgo biloba extract, reveals that EGb has reproducible effects on cognitive functions in Alzheimer's disease. The drug is well tolerated.
PMID: 14754386 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Department of Psychiatry, Catholic University of Sacred Heart, Rome, Italy. email@example.com
The Ginkgo biloba special extract EGb 761 seems to produce neuroprotective effects in neurodegenerative diseases of multifactorial origin. There is still debate about the efficacy of Ginkgo biloba special extract EGb 761 compared with second-generation cholinesterase inhibitors in the treatment of mild to moderate Alzheimer's dementia. Our aim is to assess the efficacy of the Ginkgo biloba special extract E.S. in patients with dementia of the Alzheimer type in slowing down the disease's degenerative progression and the patients' cognitive impairment compared with donepezil and placebo. The trial was designed as a 24-week randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind study. Patients aged 50-80 years, suffering from mild to moderate dementia, were allocated into one of the three treatments: Ginkgo biloba (160 mg daily dose), donepezil (5 mg daily dose), or placebo group. The degree of severity of dementia was assessed by the Syndrom Kurz test and the Mini-Mental State Examination. Clinical Global Impression score was recorded to assess the change in the patients' conditions and the therapeutic efficacy of tested medications. Our results confirm the clinical efficacy of Ginkgo biloba E.S. (Flavogin) in the dementia of the Alzheimer type, comparable with donepezil clinical efficacy. There are few published trials that have directly compared a cholinesterase inhibitor with Ginkgo for dementia. This study directly compares a cholinesterase inhibitor with Ginkgo biloba for dementia of the Alzheimer type and could be a valid contribution in this debate. Our study suggests that there is no evidence of relevant differences in the efficacy of EGb 761 and donepezil in the treatment of mild to moderate Alzheimer's dementia, so the use of both substances can be justified. In addition, this study contributes to establish the efficacy and tolerability of the Ginkgo biloba special extract E.S. in the dementia of the Alzheimer type with special respect to moderately severe stages.
PMID: 16930364 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
UNDATED (WJRT) - (05/01/07)-- It's been 101 years since Alzheimer's was first discovered by a German scientist, but we still don't know what causes it.
HealthFirst reporter Leslie LoBue says scientists still don't know why the plaques and tangles form, but there are theories. Neuro-pathologist Suzanne de la Montes believes Alzheimer's is actually a form of diabetes. "We stumbled into the concept. It wasn't like we were looking for it."
The brain produces insulin just like the pancreas. In a brain with Alzheimer's, insulin levels are much lower.
"They had a brain form of diabetes, they had insulin resistance and they had a loss of insulin, and that's why we dubbed the term type 3 diabetes," de la Montes said.
Researchers gave mice drugs to stop insulin from working. Within months, their brains were half the size and full of harmful plaques. The damage was reversed with drugs that improved insulin function, indicating that therapies to treat diabetes may also treat Alzheimer's.
Neuro-scientist Howard Federoff is studying a different idea. The theory focuses on a gene known to predict Alzheimer's that is linked to the herpes virus. "It could be conveyed by sharing a spoon or straw, by kissing."
If further research confirms the link, patients could be put on anti-virals or even be vaccinated for herpes, and at the same time, prevent Alzheimer's.
Other risks include being female, having high cholesterol and high blood pressure. People in western countries have a much higher risk than those in India, where their diets are higher in anti-oxidants.
After more than 100 years of research, there are still no definite answers.
Contrary to earlier belief, the most recent research shows aluminum does not play a role in contributing to Alzheimer's. Researchers say fish, spices like curry and curcumin, and certain juices may reduce the risk.
Computerized brain games can also help.
People with mild symptoms of Alzheimer's disease often seem healthy, but they are actually having trouble making sense of the world around them. It often takes time for an observer to realize that something is wrong because the initial symptoms are often confused with changes that take place in normal aging. Symptoms and early signs of Alzheimer's disease may include:
In moderate Alzheimer's disease, the damaging processes occurring in the brain worsen and spread to other areas that control language, reasoning, sensory processing, and thought. In this stage, symptoms and signs of Alzheimer's disease become more pronounced and behavioral problems may become more obvious. Signs and symptoms of moderate Alzheimer's disease may include:
In the advanced stage of Alzheimer's disease, damage to the brain's nerve cells is widespread. At this point, full–time care is typically required. For friends, family, and Alzheimer's caregivers, this can be the most difficult stage. People with severe Alzheimer's disease may have difficulty walking, and they often suffer complications from other illnesses, such as pneumonia. Signs of severe Alzheimer's disease may include: