Narrator: This is Science Today. A six-month UCLA study has found that ginkgo biloba, an herbal supplement that's widely used and marketed for memory enhancement, significantly improved the verbal recall of people with age-associated memory impairment. Linda Ercoli, of UCLA's Neuropsychiatric Institute, led the study.
Ercoli: We were interested in conducting a preliminary study to look at the long-term effects of ginkgo, not only on cognition but also on brain metabolism in people with normal, age-related memory problems – and so this study was not conducted in people with dementia or Alzheimer's disease.
Narrator: For the first time, researchers used PET scanning to measure the brain's glucose metabolism, which is an indirect measure of brain cell function.
Ercoli: We looked at both cognition and brain metabolism in this study. We found that using gingko for six months improved memory. We also found that for all persons in this study, better memory was associated with increased brain functioning.
Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.