GABA receptors and Ginkgo Biloba

The current Riverbend Down Sydrome Parent Support Group newsletter (Feb. 2007) has a recap of information presented at the 9th World Down Syndrome Congress, including a paper by William Mobley of the Stanford University School of Medecine titled,”Exploring the Neurobiological Basis for Cognitive Problems in Down Syndrome.”

There’s also a commentary by Dr. Teresa Cody, in which she discusses the use of Ginkgo Biloba as a mild GABA inhibitor, to help improve short term memory.

From Wikipedia: “The extract of the Ginkgo leaves contains flavonoid glycosides and terpenoids (ginkgolides, bilobalides) and has been used pharmaceutically. It is mainly used as memory enhancer and anti-vertigo agent. However, studies differ about its efficacy.”

Also from Wikipedia: “Ginkgo may have some undesirable effects, especially for individuals with blood circulation disorders and those taking anti-coagulants such as aspirin…. Ginkgo should also not be used by people who are taking monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOI) or by pregnant women without first consulting a doctor. Ginkgo side effects and cautions include: possible increased risk of bleeding, gastrointestinal discomfort, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, headaches, dizziness, and restlessness.” Go here for more information.

Jaden’s Journal has a post up about nutritional supplements and Ginkgo, here.

I don’t know how I feel about this information, yet. Avery has his bloodwork in a month, for thyroid and Celiac disease, and I want to get that done before we change anything. But I am very heartened by the people at Stanford University, Dr. Mobley in particular, who continue to look for ways to improve the quality of life of our kids.

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5 thoughts on “GABA receptors and Ginkgo Biloba

  1. Hi Jennifer! Thanks so much for posting! I follow all the research going on at Stanford and am excited about the progress they are making. Not that I look forward to a day when I have to give jaden pharmeceuticals to try and make him “normal”. I look forward to the day when our children will be able to avoid the steretypes, and that the “over acheivers” will be the “norm” and not the exception! I know that Ginkgo isn’t for everyone, I only know that for us, we have seen no adverse side affects, only positive results. The changes have really been really phenominal. Also, the terrible Potential side effects are usually associated with High Dosages of Gingko Extract and the leaves themselves, and it all depends on the formulation. That’s why it’s important to research as much as possible. Hwever, the parents I know that are having good results, are mostly using the Patented, Regulated Brand Nature’s Way, Ginkgold. Not all brands are the same. I wish you the best with Avery’s blood work, let us know what happens. 🙂

  2. Thanks for the links – I will check them out later – this is an area re Hannah that I have neglected – not even reading much about it. Her pediatrician sometimes refers to studies showing that the drugs for Thyroid may have some slight improvement for kids with DS – in the gross motor area mainly – and so I have not really investigated further. I too am glad that people are researching these things though – I don’t need a cure for DS but if there are things that can be done to increase Hannah’s enjoyment and potential in life (without changing the essence of who she is – whatever that may be) then I am very interested in them.

  3. Excellent points, Suz. Thank you for sharing your experience and your insights. I thought you had attended that conference, though I wasn’t sure. I really appreciate this input.

  4. Thanks for posting this, Jennifer.

    I heard Dr. Mobley speak in Vancouver. What the summary doesn’t emphasize is that he very strongly cautioned against talking about a ‘cure’ for Down syndrome.

    He indicated that the molecule used to surpress the inhibitors in mice caused serious seizures that could KILL the mouse.

    He said that if a molecule was developed that could help humans with Ds, it would not be a cure, but it would be something that could help people with Ds learn (e.g. because things were working in their brains more effeciently).

    This is my lay-person’s interpretation of his very technical session.

    And I agree with you about the work at Stanford. The one thing I walked away from the World Ds Congress in Vancouver was HOPE. NOT hope for a ‘cure’, but hope that researchers were finally paying attention to our kids and their community. And that people with Ds were no longer seen as ‘lost causes’.

    That to me speaks to the value and dignity and worth of all people…

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