Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Good news, but be cautious

Several blogs and other sources have played up news from a study written up in the journal Stroke:

Mice receiving a ginkgo biloba extract after a stroke - induced in a laboratory - suffered abouthalf the damage in mice who did not receive the extract. From one blog, here's a summary:

Extract from the leaves of the ginkgo tree offers promise to minimize brain damage caused by a stroke, scientists said on Thursday.

Mice given daily doses of ginkgo biloba extract before having a stroke induced in the laboratory suffered only about half the damage as animals not given it, researchers at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore wrote in the journal Stroke.

Mice who did not get ginkgo before a stroke but were given it five minutes after a stroke sustained nearly 60 percent less damage in the day after the stroke than those not given ginkgo. And mice given ginkgo 4-1/2 hours after a stroke had about a third less damage than those not given ginkgo.

So this is promising news - something to follow.

One caveat, though - this isn't your over-the-counter gingko biloba. This supplement is widely marketed as a pill to help your memory and concentration. They also could interact - and not in a good way - with prescription medication for stroke prevention. Those would include warfarin, Plavix and Aggrenox.

So if you want try the supplement, talk to your doctor. For your health and safety.

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