Strokes are rampant. “Stroke is the leading cause of adult disability in Canada and the third leading cause of death. Every year, nearly 14,000 Canadians die from stroke.” (Ontario Stroke Network). To put it into perspective, more women die each year from strokes than from breast cancer and over 22% of people die within one year of a stroke. Stroke costs Canada over $3.6 Billion each year.
A stroke occurs when the blood supply to part of the brain is interrupted or reduced, depriving brain tissue of oxygen and nutrients. Within minutes, brain cells begin to die. A stroke is a medical emergency. Prompt treatment is crucial. Early action can minimize brain damage and potential complications. The lingering effects of stroke vary based on the part(s) of the brain damaged and the extent of damage. The most common type of stroke is Ischemic stroke, where an artery in the brain is blocked.
In 30% of post stroke patients dementia was reported. Cognitive decline after stroke can result in vascular cognitive impairment (a decline in thinking abilities caused by damage to the brain’s blood vessels) and Alzheimer’s disease (a progressive disease that destroys memory and other important mental functions).
Ginkgo biloba, one of the oldest medicinal plants know has been used in Asia for thousands of years. Ginkgo biloba extract has been used as a traditional herb for memory, depression, tinnitus and confusion. Researchers tested to see the role Ginkgo biloba Extract could have in the treatment of ischemic stroke and its effects on cognitive decline.
Patients who have had an ischemic stroke are routinely given daily aspirin, which thins the blood and thereby prevents clots, is currently used to reduce the long-term risks of a second stroke. Researchers tested the outcomes of aspirin alone and aspirin combined with Gikno biloba Extract. The researchers concluded that Ginkgo biloba Extract in combination with aspirin treatment alleviated cognitive and neurological deficits after acute ischaemic stroke, significantly improving performance in activities of daily living (ADL) without increasing the incidence of vascular events.