Herb improves life expectancy in elderly, study finds

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The herb Ginkgo biloba appears to extend the lives of older people, but it may not reduce their risk of dementia, according to a new study.

French researchers studied 3,534 men and women 65 and older. Those who used the herb were 24% less likely to die over a 13-year period than their peers who didn't take Ginkgo. Ginkgo biloba extract has been marketed and sold to enhance memory.

Researchers found, however, that about 21% of the elderly who took Gingko biloba developed dementia compared with approximately 22% of those on other memory treatments and roughly 15% who were not taking memory enhancers. The study was published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.