AUG 14, 2023 8:00 AM PDT

From Ancient Leaves to Modern Stroke Care: The Next Stage for Ginkgo

WRITTEN BY: Amielle Moreno

In the ever-evolving landscape of medical research, a recent clinical trial has cast a spotlight on a potential breakthrough in stroke treatment. The question is: Can ginkgo diterpene lactone meglumine (GDLM) enhance the recovery of patients grappling with acute ischemic stroke (AIS)?

by Joe Schneid CC 3.0

Previous studies have tackled this issue, but their small number of participants and absence of placebo controls left gaps in understanding. Now, the results of a new clinical trial have graced the pages of the venerable Journal of the American Medical Association (NCT02526225).

The large fan-shaped leaves of the ginkgo tree have been used medicinally for centuries. While not approved by the FDA, it is used today for neurological and vascular conditions such as dementia, cardiovascular disease, and sexual dysfunction. It's thought the plant's phytochemicals offer antioxidant and anti-platelet benefits.

This clinical trial tested the potential neuroprotective prowess of GDLM in the context of ischemic stroke. The medical scientists' rigorous and scientific approach ensured that their evidence could bolster the promising AIS treatment.

In a collaboration between 100 centers in China, 3448 individuals were randomized into the clinical trial. All participants were within a crucial 48-hour window of the onset of AIS symptoms. These individuals were subjected to injections of either GDLM or placebo and observed over 14 days.

Using the Rankin Scale to capture the spectrum of stroke impact and recovery progress at the 90-day mark, the scientists found that the GDLM group achieved an astounding 50.8% favorable outcome. In comparison, the placebo group trailed slightly at 44.1%. Adverse events were equally balanced across both groups.

While slight, this difference is enough to alter future treatment strategies. In the pursuit of understanding AIS treatment, this study showed that the effects of GDLM are potent enough to stand up to rigorous scientific investigations. In the future, injecting phytopharmaceutical GDLM might become a mainstay for those who experience AIS.

Sources: JAMA Network Open

About the Author
Doctorate (PhD)
Amielle Moreno earned her doctorate in neuroscience from Emory University and has dedicated her career to science communication, news coverage, and academic writing/editing. She is a published researcher who has branched out to author articles for various science websites. She recently published an original research article detailing her findings on how sensory areas of the brain respond to social sound. When she's not writing or editing, you can find her spinning the latest neuroscience news into comedy gold, hosting her podcast "Miss Behavior Journal Club." This fortnightly humorous podcast features the latest in behavioral research. Her goal in life is to defend and discover scientific truths.
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