Ginkgo biloba Increases Global Cerebral Blood Flow

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One of the leading factors of cognitive impairment leading to dementia and eventually Alzheimer’s disease is a condition where there is insufficient blood flow to the brain or an inadequate supply of blood to the brain. 

The condition of reduced blood flow to the brain is called cerebral ischemia or hypoperfusion of the brain.

Hypoperfusion of the brain can severely diminish neurological function and is often the first indication of changes that impact the brain and which precedes structural deterioration of the brain.  1

Researchers published a study in March 2011 that sought to determine if changes in cerebral blood flow could be detected by dynamic susceptibility contrast-enhanced magnetic resonance imaging (DSC-MRI) in elderly human subjects taking an Extract of Ginkgo biloba (EGb).   2

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Ginko biloba leaves

The test subjects were nine healthy men with a mean age of 61±10 years.  They took 60 mg EGb twice daily for 4 weeks.

Cerebral blood flow (CBF) values were computed before and after EGb, and analyzed at three different levels of spatial resolution, using voxel-based statistical parametric mapping (SPM), and regions of interest in different lobes, and all regions combined.

Test results showed a small CBF increase in the left parietal–occipital region. CBF in individual lobar regions did not show any significant change post-EGb, but all regions combined showed a significant increase of non-normalized CBF after EGb (15% in white and 13% in gray matter, respectively, P≤0.0001).

Researchers concluded that a mild increase in CBF is found in the left parietal–occipital WM after EGb, as well as a small but statistically significant increase in global CBF.

Cover Photo credit: Radu Jianu, Brown University