On Rats and Students: Effects of Ginkgo Biloba and Glutaphos on Learning and Memory NIXON VINO AGASER MA Psychology

(April 2009) Department of Psychology

Two randomized placebo-controlled experiments were done to examine and compare the effects of drugs (Ginkgo biloba and glutaphos) on learning and memory. In experiment 1, the effects of Ginkgo biloba and glutaphos were measured based on the escape latency and learning performance of 15 white male rats in the water maze and wood maze. Drugs and palcebo were administered daily at 70 mg/kg for eight weeks. Four sessions, which were two weeks apart, were conducted within the 2-month drug administration. Each session was consisted of 9 trials in each of the mazes. The escape latency and learning performance were recorded in the water maze and wood maze respectively. Results in the water maze show that Ginkgo biloba improved learning and memory as compared to glutaphos and placebo. Subjects administered with Ginkgo biloba significantly had better escape latencies than the glutaphos and placebo. Glutaphos, although better than placebo, was ineffective in improving learning and memory in the water maze. In the wood maze, both Ginkgo biloba and glutaphos as compared to placebo showed benefits in the learning performance of the subjects. Glutaphos, like Ginkgo biloba, was able to improve learning performance in the wood maze. Mean scores of those administered with glutaphos were significantly better than placebo. Escape latency in the water maze and learning performance in the wood maze were highly correlated indicating consistency on the effects of the drugs. In sum, Experiment 1 confirmed the cognitive benefits of Ginkgo biloba as past studies have shown and showed that glutaphos is less effective than Ginkgo biloba in improving learning and memory. In experiment 2, the effects of the drugs were studied on two primed recognition tasks (recognition-to-sample and recognition-to-nonsample) among 41 college students. The two tasks approximated explicit and implicit memory processes respectively. Drugs dosage was 3 tablets/capsules/day within a period of two months. Two sessions (4th and 8th week) were done for both recognition tasks. In the recognition-to-sample, participants were asked to complete 30 fragmented words based on the words presented in the study phase (explicit task). Results show that Ginkgo biloba improved the recogntion of words based on the words presented as compared to glutaphos and placebo. In the recognition-to-nonsample, participants were asked to complete the 30 fragmented words without specifically referring to the words presented in the study phase. (implicit task); instead, they were to supply the missing letter based on any suitable words that came to their minds. Results show no significant differences among Ginkgo biloba, glutaphos, and placebo. In sum, the results suggest that Ginkgo biloba has limited cognitive benefits while glutaphos, although better than placebo, appears to have negligible effect in improving learning and memory. The two experiments show that the enhancing effects of Ginkgo biloba on learning and memory seem to be limited to some cognitive tasks, for example, explicit memory tests, while benefits for glutaphos seem small. However, the possibility that some factors for example, dosage employed and the dependent measures used, contributed much to the nonsignificant result for glutaphos. Results show that in all the measures in both experiments, glutaphos is consistently higher than placebo suggesting that it may also improve learning and memory but did not reach significance level.

Master your semester with Scribd & The New York Times

Special offer for students: Only $4.99/month.

Master your semester with Scribd & The New York Times

Cancel anytime.