A study has determined that ginkgo biloba, a supplement dementia sufferers were told could help them, had no effect in slowing the debilitating disease.
The disappointing conclusion came from a large study that examined more than 3,000 volunteers (75 and older) for approximately six years, the Los Angeles Times reports.
"We were disappointed. We were hopeful this would work," Dr Steven T DeKosky, the principal investigator in the study, told the Times.
Ginkgo comes from a Chinese tree and was most commonly packaged as a large, brown-looking pill that at times tasted bitter.
It was believed the natural ingredients within the supplement improved memory and attention.
While there are multiple drugs currently being tested that may have the potential to slow dementia, there are some other things sufferers can do to try to slow the progression.
Physical activity can help maintain good blood flow to the brain and can protect against dementia. Some assisted living communities have installed a Nintendo Wii to facilitate this. Also, it was widely reported that compounds in certain grapes and red wine could benefit dementia sufferers.
There are approximately 700,000 people diagnosed with dementia in the UK.