Here's the problem: nobody ever claimed gingko by itself did anything about dementia. It does help oxygenate the blood vessels, and protects blood vessel walls' integrity, but herbs are used in combination, not alone. Problem with these pharmaceutical studies is, they always study herbs in isolation, and that's not how herbalists use them. There's a difference between how herbs are advertised and how they're used by professionals.
The results are from the Ginkgo Evaluation of Memory study, funded by the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, a center of the National Institutes of Health.
Elderly people suffering from conditions like dementia are often pumped full of powerful meds
unfortunately it turns out, these drugs can actually increase the risk of potentially deadly pneumonia. Researchers looked at data on nearly 2,000 seniors -- 258 with pneumonia, and 1,686 without -- they found that the patients on antipsychotic meds were twice as likely to get sick.The higher the dosage, the higher the risk, according to the study in the Annals of Internal Medicine Most of the seniors who get these meds live in institutions. The ones that dish out steady doses of antipsychotic meds do so for one reason only: to create quiet, complacent, non-demanding seniors who can be monitored by the smallest possible staff while the owners cash insurance checks.
While there may be some truth in what you've said in some situations...it simply isn't fair to make such a broad statement without knowing all the facts that surround this issue.
I am a Nursing Supervsior in a long term care facility, and I can tell you that the use of such meds is very closely regulated. If a person is prescribed an anti-anxiety med, antidepressant, antipsychotics, etc...we must have a written thorough diagnosis from the Rx-ing physician indicating why that med is needed, along with frequent labs and assessments to both eval the effectiveness of the med, along with monitoring for any probelms. We have to thoroughly document in about 4 different places in detail about the patient's status while on these kinds of meds, including thorough behavioral assessments to show the indication of this kind of therapy. In additiom, we have to document and show that we've tried other, non-pharmaceutical methods as a way to address the emotional issue/behavior.
Even the Social Services department must document frequently regarding these meds being prescribed, including that the pts family has been informed and educated about the risks and possible benefits of this kind of therapy. If the resident does not have a clearly documented history of dementia, anxiety, depression, or any other condition that would warrant a resident being Rx-ed these kinds of meds...we can't do it. Not without a WHOLE lot of red tape. We are "policed" by the state, who also carefully looks at these issues during our annual survey. If we don't follow the regulations to a "T", then the facility risks getting cited.
At one point, I'm sure that these meds were overused in LTC facilities, b/c like you said....to keep residents from requiring more closely monitored care in the indicence of negative behavior, like combativeness, agitation, etc. But, in this day and age...the elderly is protected from that with very strict regulations to prevent the overuse and unnecessary use of mental health meds.
I feel it is very important that people know this....as like you posted above...it is a common misnomer that patients are thrown into facilities and simply overmedicated to make them "behave". Believe me...there are cases where a patient truly DOES need a medication to help with agitation and anxiety....but sadly, due to the red tape...are hands are often tied. When they ARE used, at least in what I've seen in my career, the resident's best interest is always the priority.
I've worked in these facilities as well. These documents on the charts are to satisfy government regulations, not to make sure the elderly are being care for properly. And just because something has been written in ink on the chart does not mean it has been done. It is to pass OSHA guidelines.
I think most of us have been to these facilities to know that the main concern is NOT for the residents. And most of the time, it is not necessarily the staffs fault entirely. They are understaffed to the point that they can't provide the care that they need.
I won't argue about the staffing issues...that is a big issue. However, I simply disagree that the entire process is basically a farce, simply to keep the "big guys" happy. I've seen 1st hand a lot of uncollectable monetary resources being taken advantage of for the benfit of the patient. Sure, the system isn't perfect...but I DO have a problem with the idea that the elderly are purposely overmedicated in LTC facilities as a way for them to "behave" and be compliant so that they require less care.
And, just btw, OSHA has nothing to do with these kinds of regulations whatsoever. Ive observed state surverys...they leave no stone unturned. If something is documented...it better have been done...or the facility ends up with whopping citations, which is the last thing they want.
I'm sure not all facilities are on the up and up, but if they are properly regulated, they will end up with a poor report card. All I can attest to is what goes on in the facilities I have worked at...and I can honestly say that the resident is the main priority. I would honestly think that the elderly in the community would be at a greater risk of being overmedicated, simply due to the lack of regulation in that kind of scenario.
I'd only say that a few people have posted on the mental health forum for Dr. Gould about the elderly being put on anti-depressants without any permission at all, causing the patient to go nuts. I think these homes vary widely in quality and probably depending on the physician in charge. Most nurses I've known think docs are a bit reckless with the meds. But it's hard to tell. My psychiatrist uses Remeron not so much as an anti-depressant in the elderly with dementia, but because it gets pretty much anyone to eat. Many demented elderly stop eating, but on Remeron they do. I think this is a very tough area, where often the patient can't advocate for themselves and doctors don't always ask the family until afterward. Then when they come off they go into withdrawal, which we know docs ignore, and they're helpless. But the pneumonia issue, I don't know, any hospital or hospital-like setting is rife with infections, and many people die of pneumonia in them even though that wasn't their original problem. Kind of interesting how you'd correlate it well enough to get a good study given we know well how much pneumonia floats around these facilities.
As far as gingko biloba is concerned, there is no doubt that it helps restore short term memory capability. I was in a two-year program that involved extensive testing by professionals (double-blind study). The results were nothing short of amazing. No other herbs were used. However, I do not know if gingko biloba has a role in preventing dementia. The study I was in did not include people with alzheimer's, or any other sort of dementia.
Scientists have found that one fruit could hold the key to supercharging your memory.One little fruit could stop or even reverse years of cognitive decline.
This fruit contains special substances that help your brain cells send and receive information faster. Much faster. Plus, according to the new research, it doesn't take long for your brain to start working lightening fast...just 12 weeks.
Berry blocks natural brain aging
Over the years, lots of studies have shown that this fruit reduces your risk of vision loss, weight gain, heart disease, and certain types of cancer. That's nothing new. But very recently, scientists have also found that it also protects your brain from aging.
Blueberries, which contain two special kinds of antioxidants called anthocyanins and flavanols. They are special because they can cross the blood-brain barrier. Very few nutrients on Earth can do this. Once there, they scrub your brain cells and get rid of harmful free radicals. And that's important...because free radicals in the brain can lead to oxidation, memory loss, and even Alzheimer's disease.
Blueberries also help existing nerve cells in the brain to communicate with each other better. They even appear to encourage the growth of new nerve cells in the brain.
If Big Pharma came up with a drug that could grow new nerve cells in the brain. Not that it could (or would) ever happen, but can you imagine the headlines: "Grow New Brain Cells with Our Miracle Drug!!!!!" Sure, there would be the occasional side-effects, like your head exploding. But that's a small risk.
Thankfully, you don't have to wait for Big Pharma's next wonder drug. Blueberries can improve your brain function right now.
Boost your learning capacity
For the latest study, researchers fed aging rats a blueberry-enriched diet for one or two months. They also sent the rats through a series of mazes to test their cognitive ability. The faster the rat got through the maze, the better its score.
The first time the aging rats ran through the maze, they scored badly. But after eating a diet filled with blueberries they all performed better, even the rats who were fed blueberries for just one month. In fact, in just one month's time, they scored just as well as the young rats in the study. On the other hand, the aging rats fed a normal diet performed worse on later tests.
In addition, the aging rats fed blueberries for at least two months kept their young brains.
Well, these rats continued to perform like young rats even months after they stopped eating the blueberries. So it appears that eating blueberries has a lasting affect on the brain.
According to Dr. David Malin, PhD, the team's lead researcher, "The present results suggest that even a relatively brief blueberry diet might produce measurable benefits. Second, the benefits of several months of the diet might be maintained for a considerable period after the diet is interrupted. Third, blueberry supplementation might possibly reverse some degree of memory impairment that has already developed. This raises the possibility that this sort of nutritional intervention might still be beneficial even after certain memory deficiencies have become evident."
In other words, eating blueberries can really help your memory... even if you already show signs of mental decline. Plus, once you start eating blueberries, the results seem to be long-lasting.
Now, these results came from testing rats. And the research has to come a long way before we can say with certainty that we'll get the same results on humans. But the emerging data looks really positive. In fact, last year researchers from the University of Cincinnati found that men and women who drank about 500 mL of blueberry juice improved their learning and word list recall in just 12 weeks! They also significantly improved their depressive symptoms.
These delicious brain-boosters are one of the 'dirtiest' fruits on Earth. In fact, each year the Environmental Working Group ranks fruits and vegetables according to their pesticide residue. And last year blueberries ranked fifth 'dirtiest.' This means that most blueberries on the shelves at your local grocery store are covered in pesticides.
Is there such a thing as a 'clean' blueberry?
The truth is, washing fruits and vegetables with soap and water (or even the specialty washes) does very little to remove pesticides. The only safe way around the problem is to avoid commercially grown produce. Choose organic instead. Another great option is to look for a supplement that contains blueberry extract.