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1 December 2007 Ginkgo biloba Decreases Acute Mountain Sickness in People Ascending to High Altitude at Ollagüe (3696 m) in Northern Chile
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Objective.—To determine the prophylactic effect of Ginkgo biloba (doses 80 mg/12 h, 24 h before high-altitude ascension and with continued treatment) in preventing acute mountain sickness (AMS) at 3696 m in participants without high-altitude experience.

Methods.—Thirty-six participants who reside at sea level were transported to an altitude of 3696 m (Ollagüe). The participants were divided into 3 groups and received G biloba (n = 12) 80 mg/12 h, acetazolamide (n = 12) 250 mg/12 h, or placebo (n = 12) 24 hours before ascending and during their 3-day stay at high altitude. The Lake Louise Questionnaire constituted the primary outcome measurement at sea level and at 3696 m. A Lake Louise Self-Report Score greater than 3 was indicative of AMS. Oxygen saturation, heart rate, and arterial pressure were taken with each evaluation for AMS.

Results.—A significant reduction in AMS was observed in the group that received G biloba (0%, P < .05) comparison with the groups receiving acetazolamide (36%, P < .05) or placebo (54%). No difference was observed in arterial oxygen saturation in the G biloba (92 ± 2) vs the acetazolamide (89 ± 2) groups. However, a marked increased saturation in arterial oxygen was seen in comparison with the placebo group (84 ± 3, P < .05). No statistically significant differences were observed in mean arterial pressure or heart rate.

Conclusions.—This study provides evidence supporting the use of G biloba in the prevention of AMS, demonstrating that 24 hours of pretreatment with G biloba and subsequent maintenance during exposure to high altitude are sufficient to reduce the incidence of AMS in participants with no previous high-altitude experience.

Fernando A. Moraga, Alejandro Flores, Jordi Serra, Carla Esnaola, and Corina Barriento "Ginkgo biloba Decreases Acute Mountain Sickness in People Ascending to High Altitude at Ollagüe (3696 m) in Northern Chile," Wilderness & Environmental Medicine 18(4), 251-257, (1 December 2007).
Published: 1 December 2007

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