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Preliminary Research Linking Ginkgo Biloba, Quercetin, Tocotrienol to Alzheimer's and Dementia

Good results in the lab can lead to larger human trials and, hopefully, positive results. Here are some of the most promising recent findings from lab studies that might lead to effective treatments for various types of dementia.

Ginkgo biloba and Alzheimer's. Doctors don't know what causes Alzheimer's disease (AD), but Chinese medicine has used ginkgo biloba to treat cognitive disorders for centuries. In this study, doctors identified six proteins associated with Alzheimer's disease that may have protective and preventive effects when networked with compounds in ginkgo biloba. In a computer generated mathematics and statistical model, doctors integrated these proteins with compounds in ginkgo biloba and found several beneficial effects, including ginkgo biloba dissolving a particular protein called "tau," before it could form into the type of plaque found in Alzheimer's disease. The results suggest a possible Alzheimer's disease therapy using ginkgo blob.

(Reference: Nutrients; May 2018, Published Online)

Quercetin and senolytic drugs. As normal cells age, they stop dividing, a condition called senescense, a major factor in aging and disease. Senolytic drugs selectively eliminate these dying cells. In the lab, with naturally aging mice, doctors combined the senolytic drug, dasatinib, with the antioxidant quercetin, and found the combination prevented cell damage, delayed physical dysfunction, and extended lifespan. In a second phase of the study, dasatinib plus quercetin selectively killed senescent cells and slowed deterioration in walking speed, endurance, and grip strength. Doctors said senolytics including quercetin may enhance lifespan in older people, cancer survivors, and in other senescence-related conditions.

(Quercetin and senolytic drugs: Nature Medicine; July 2018, Vol. 24, 1246-12-56)

Tocotrienol vitamin E and Alzheimer's disease. In the lab, doctors gave mice with Alzheimer's disease (AD) 27 mg of palm-oil derived tocotrienol vitamin E per pound of body weight, per day, or palm oil with no vitamin E. After 10 months, the groups performed daily tasks such as swimming and running over a two-week period. 

Those in the tocotrienol group showed improved exploratory activity, better memory, object recognition, and increased learning capacity. The tocotrienol group also had fewer abnormalities in brain tissue. Discussing the findings, doctors said tocotrienols may help regulate chemical reactions in the metabolic pathways of cells associated with Alzheimer's disease.

(Reference: Journal of Alzheimer's Disease; 2018, Vol. 64, No. 1, 249-67)

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