Chewing Gum Stimulates the Brain
Reversing Classroom Doctrine
When your teacher told you to spit your gum out during class, little did she know that chewing gum actually stimulates the brain! A major study was conducted to analyze if and how the repetitive chewing motion of consuming gum actually helps in the mental processes in the brain.
Seventy-five subjects were studied to see whether or not chewing gum stimulates the brain.
After dividing the group into three smaller groups, one that chewed gum, one that pretended to chew gum using a chewing motion and a control group that did not chew gum at all. Each group was then given several tests that evaluated their ability to learn and remember information. They included memory tests of words, pictures or everyday information like a telephone number.
Chewing Gum Tests Positive
Those who chewed gum had the most positive results. This was true especially of tests right after seeing the visual information and after a twenty-five minute interval. The people who pretending to chew gum scored lower than those actually chewing gum but still had slightly better scores than the control group who sat quietly.
An interesting difference in the three groups' physical response may point to at least one reason why chewing gum stimulates the brain. The heart rates of the group that chewed gum was higher than the group that pretended to chew gum and much higher than the control group. The increased heart rate is significant because that means more oxygen is being pumped to the brain, in the chewing groups. This oxygen boosts brain power; that much is clear. This could be one reason why chewing gum stimulates the brain.
Another reason why chewing gum stimulates the brain is a little more complicated. The theory is that, to the brain, the chewing action means a meal is about to be consumed. So the brain is then tricked into sending signals to release insulin.
As a result, the released insulin soaks up any stray glucose or sugar in the blood and makes it ready to be used as energy for any organs or muscles nearby.
One area of the brain that is chock full of insulin receptors is the hippocampus, which is crucial to memory function. If chewing gum does stimulate the brain, this may be the way it does it.
Time For A Change?
All in all it seems that what was once strictly forbidden in the classroom, actually enhances mental perfomance. As further research is conducted and those findings incorporated into the class room, you may find that, what would have been a shocking site for those of us whose school days are long behind us, teachers might actually be handing out sticks of gum before classes and tests!
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