ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Air Pollution May Raise Blood Pressure
Using Music and Sports to Improve Kids' Asthma
Childhood Food Allergies on the Rise
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Eight Spiritual Universal Principles in the Art of Practice
Pharoah's Wine Jar Yields Medicinal Secrets
Tai Chi: An Ideal Exercise for Many People with Diabetes
ANIMAL CARE
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
Rest Easy. When It Comes to Swine Flu, Your Pet Is Safe
Animals Respond to Acupuncture's Healing Touch
BONES & JOINTS
Gene Plays Key Role in Clubfoot
Frankincense Provides Relief for Osteoarthritis
Vitamin D Plus Calcium Guards Against Fractures
CANCER
Gene Screen May Predict Colon Cancer's Return
Where You Live May Affect Your Cancer Diagnosis
Supplements Might Reduce Breast Cancer Risk
CAREGIVING
Injected Medication Errors a Major Problem
3 Steps Might Help Stop MRSA's Spread
Birthmark or Blood Vessel Problem?
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Migraines in Pregnancy Boost Vascular Risks
Walk 100 Steps a Minute for 'Moderate' Exercise
Exercise May Blunt Salt's Effect on Hypertension
COSMETIC
The Acne Drug Accutane More Than Doubles Depression Risk
Wrinkle Fillers Need Better Label Warnings: FDA Panel
What to Do If You Have Unsightly Veins
DENTAL, ORAL
Hormones May Be to Blame for Women's Cavity Rates
Good Oral Hygiene May Protect Against Heart Infections
Amino Acid May Be Key to Strong Teeth
DIABETES
Brown Rice Bests White for Diabetes Prevention
Fructose-Sweetened Drinks Up Metabolic Syndrome Risk
Laughter May Lower Heart Attack Risk in Diabetics
DIET, NUTRITION
Folic Acid Might Offer Allergy Relief
Diet, Exercise May Slow Kidney Disease Progression
'Soda Tax' Wins Health Experts' Support
DISABILITIES
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Pilots May Face Greater Cancer Risk
What's Cookin'? It Could Be Air Pollution
Small Doses of Carbon Monoxide Might Help Stroke Victims
EYE CARE, VISION
Glaucoma Treatment Can Prevent Blindness
Green Tea May Ward Off Eye Disease
Nutrient-Rich Diet Lowers Risk of Age-Related Eye Disease
FITNESS
Run for Your Life
Antioxidants Blunt Exercise Benefit, Study Shows
The Juice From Beetroots May Boost Stamina
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
Soothing Imagery May Help Rid Some Kids of Stomach Pain
Gum Chewing May Speed Colon Surgery Recovery
Traditional Nonsurgical GERD Treatments Not Impressive
GENERAL HEALTH
Smog Tougher on the Obese
Autumn Chores Often Hazardous
Hand-Washing Habits Still Need Improvement: Survey Says
HEAD & NECK
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
Airport Full Body Scanners Pose No Health Threat: Experts
The Internet Is Becoming One-Stop Shopping for Health Help
Magnet Therapy May Ease Hard-to-Treat Depression
HEARING
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Obese People Seem to Do Better With Heart Disease
Omega-6 Fatty Acids Can Be Good for You
Ginkgo Won't Prevent Heart Attack, Stroke in Elderly
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Viral Infection Might Trigger High Blood Pressure
Chinese 'Devil Dung' Plant Could Be a Swine Flu Fighter
Bacterial Infections May Succumb to Honey
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Family Medicine Cabinet Top Source Of Kid's Poisonings
Backpack Safety Should Be on Back-to-School Lists
Obese Children More Likely to Suffer Lower Body Injuries
MEN'S HEALTH
Varicose Veins May Mask Larger Problem
More Vitamin C May Mean Less Chance of Gout
Eating Fast Until Full Triples Overweight Risk
MENTAL HEALTH
Love Hormone May Ease Discussion of Painful Topics
Breast-Fed Baby May Mean Better Behaved Child
Fear Response May Stem From Protein in Brain
PAIN
Are We Exercising Pain Away? Not So Much.
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
Tai Chi May Help Ease Fibromyalgia
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Exercise Boosts Bone Density in Breast-Feeding Moms
Prenatal Stress May Boost Baby's Asthma Risk
Breast-Feeding May Protect a Woman's Heart
SENIORS
Keeping Mentally Active Seems To Keep The Brain Active
Money May Matter, Health-Wise, in Old Age
Community Exercise Programs Boost Seniors' Strength
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Lose Weight, Sleep Apnea May Improve
Moderate Aerobics May Ease Insomnia Symptoms
Meditation May Help Put Primary Insomnia to Bed
WOMEN'S HEALTH
How Much Fish to Eat While Pregnant?
Steady Weight Gain Boosts Late-Life Breast Cancer Risk
Pre-Pregnancy Weight Linked to Babies' Heart Problems
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Ginkgo Won't Prevent Heart Attack, Stroke in Elderly

HealthDay News) -- Among people aged 75 and older, the herbal supplement Ginkgo biloba does not prevent heart attacks, stroke or death, a new study finds.

There is some evidence that the popular herbal remedy might help prevent the leg-circulation problem known as peripheral artery disease, however.

Ginkgo contains nutrients called flavonoids, which are also found in fruits, vegetables, dark chocolate and red wine, and are believed to offer some protection against cardiovascular events, the researchers say. The supplement, which is popular in the United States and Europe, has been touted to improve memory, and to prevent dementia, heart disease and stroke.

However, "ginkgo had no benefit in preventing heart attack or stroke," said study lead researcher Dr. Lewis H. Kuller, distinguished university professor of public health and professor of epidemiology at the University of Pittsburgh.

"But, surprising to us, was that the results were consistent with the observations in Europe that ginkgo appeared to have some benefit in preventing peripheral vascular disease," he said.

This could be due to flavonoids acting as both antioxidants and also causing blood vessels to expand, Kuller said.

The report was released online Nov. 24 in advance of publication in an upcoming print issue of the journal Circulation. Last year the same University of Pittsburgh team reported that ginkgo biloba had no effect on preventing dementia.

For their latest study, Kuller's group randomly assigned 3,069 patients to 120 milligrams of highly purified ginkgo biloba or placebo, twice a day as part of the Ginkgo Evaluation of Memory Study.

Over the six years of the trial, 385 participants died, 164 had heart attacks, 151 had strokes, 73 had mini-strokes ("transient ischemic attacks") and 207 had chest pain, the researchers found.

There was no significant difference between those taking ginkgo or placebo for any of these outcomes, Kuller said.

However, among the 35 people who were treated for peripheral artery disease, 23 received placebo and 12 were taking ginkgo -- a statistically significance difference, the researchers noted.

About 8 million Americans have peripheral artery disease, which typically affects the arteries in the pelvis and legs. Symptoms include cramping and pain or tiredness in the hip muscles and legs when walking or climbing stairs, although not everyone who has PAD is symptomatic. The pain usually subsides during rest.

"This study demonstrated that there were absolutely no benefits of ginkgo biloba in reducing cardiovascular events such as heart attack or stroke or in reducing death due to cardiovascular disease," said Dr. Gregg A. Fonarow, a professor of cardiovascular medicine at the University of California, Los Angeles.

"Individuals interested in maintaining cardiovascular health should stick to interventions that have been proven to be beneficial, including not smoking, engaging in regular exercise, and maintaining healthy weight, blood pressure and cholesterol levels rather than taking herbal supplements," Fonarow said.

Mark Blumenthal, founder and executive director of the American Botanical Council, an independent non-profit educational organization, pointed to the study's more positive outcome.

"I believe it is important to emphasize that the results of this current exploratory trial do not in any manner reduce or negate the existing positive results of ginkgo biloba as an effective treatment in peripheral artery disease patients, which has been evaluated, confirmed, and approved by government regulatory drug authorities in leading Western European countries like Germany and France," he said.

In addition, Blumenthal said, the trial showed that ginkgo biloba was safe and well-tolerated.

SOURCES: Lewis H. Kuller, M.D., Dr.P.H., distinguished university professor, public health and professor of epidemiology, University of Pittsburgh; Mark Blumenthal, founder and executive director, American Botanical Council; Gregg A. Fonarow, M.D., professor, cardiovascular medicine, University of California, Los Angeles; Nov. 24, 2009, Circulation, online Published on: November 26, 2009