Multiple sclerosis is a chronic neurological disease afflicting young and middle-aged adults, resulting in problems with coordination, strength, cognition, affect, and sensation.
Researchers conducted a double-blind, placebo-controlled, parallel group design study to determine whether a ginkgo biloba extract (EGb 761) improves functional performance in individuals with multiple sclerosis.
Twenty-two individuals with multiple sclerosis were randomly assigned to either the treatment or control condition. Groups did not differ with respect to age, IQ, and education.
Half of the multiple sclerosis subjects received 240 mg per day of ginkgo special extract (EGb 761), and the other half received placebo.
The main outcome measures assessed depression (Center for Epidemiologic Studies of Depression Scale [CES-D]), anxiety (State-Trait Anxiety Inventory [STAI]), fatigue (Modified Fatigue Impact Scale [MFIS]); symptom severity (Symptom Inventory [SI]) and functional performance (Functional Assessment of Multiple Sclerosis [FAMS]).
The multiple sclerosis subjects in the ginkgo group had significantly more individuals showing improvement on four or more measures with improvements associated with significantly larger effect sizes on measures of fatigue, symptom severity, and functionality. The ginkgo group also exhibited less fatigue at follow-up compared with the placebo group.
This exploratory pilot study showed that no adverse events or side effects were reported and that ginkgo exerted modest beneficial effects on select functional measures among some individuals with multiple sclerosis.