Jan. 4, 2002
Volume XXXV, No. 1

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Scientist studies Ginkgo biloba's role in diabetes

Portrait of Kudolo KUDOLO

Ginkgo biloba seems to reduce platelet hypersensitivity, a condition often found in diabetics, and increase pancreatic insulin production. Allied health researcher Dr. George Kudolo, associate professor of clinical laboratory sciences at the Health Science Center, is studying the herb's potential.

The National Institutes of Health's National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) recently awarded Dr. Kudolo a three-year grant totaling $833,625 for his proposal titled "Ginkgo Biloba Extract and Insulin Resistance Syndrome." Dr. Kudolo will study the interaction between the herb and three diabetes medications. This is the Health Science Center's first NCCAM grant.

Early testing indicates Ginkgo biloba may coat platelets, preventing blood clot formation and potentially reducing the risk of stroke and other cardiovascular diseases. "We are finding that Ginkgo biloba is acting much like aspirin does in preventing blood clots," Dr. Kudolo said.

Dr. Kudolo's work also shows that Ginkgo may increase insulin production in a diabetic whose insulin production is failing. He hopes to identify which dosage works best and at what stage of diabetes.

"Since aging is a significant risk factor for the development of impaired glucose tolerance and type 2 diabetes, we also will study Ginkgo biloba's effect on pancreatic insulin production in the elderly," Dr. Kudolo said. "Research also shows that Ginkgo biloba could delay the onset of senile dementia and Alzheimer's disease. Because of this new knowledge, elderly men and women are likely to ingest the herb, so we need to know how it would affect the pancreas."


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