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Originally published April 2 2009

Ginkgo Reduces Brain Damage from Stroke by 50 Percent

by David Gutierrez, staff writer

(NaturalNews) Ginkgo biloba extract may reduce the brain damage and neurobehavioral dysfunction from a stroke by 50 percent, according to a study conducted by researchers from Johns Hopkins Institutions and published in the journal Stroke.

"Our results suggest that some element or elements in ginkgo actually protect brain cells during stroke," researcher Sylvain Dore said. "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."

Researchers gave two groups of mice an oral dose of 100 milligrams per kilogram of EGb 761 ginkgo biloba once per day. In the first group of mice, the gene that regulates the production of the HO-1 enzyme had been knocked out, while the second group was genetically unmodified.

HO-1 is a known antioxidant that has been shown to protect against inflammation in animal tests.

After seven days, the researchers induced stroke in all the gingko-treated mice, as well as other mice that had not been dosed with ginkgo biloba, by blocking an artery leading to one side of the brain (a so-called ischemic stroke).

Before the study began, all mice had been tested for general brain function, as well as for signs of brain damage including forelimb weakness, inability to bear weight and lack of spontaneous motor movement. The mice were tested again at one, two and 22 hours following the stroke.

The researchers found that normal, ginkgo-treated mice had suffered 50.9 percent less neurological dysfunction than either untreated or HO-1 knockout mice. The damaged areas in the brains of normal, ginkgo-treated mice were also 48.2 percent smaller than in the other mice.

The researchers believe that ginkgo increases levels of HO-1, which then protects the brain from the free radicals that tend to concentrate at the site of an ischemic stroke.

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