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Chewing gum in school should be mandatory.

Posted Feb 20 2009 7:24pm 2 Comments
Did you realize there is scientific evidence showing that chewing gum improves concentration and reduces stress? The United States military has known this for decades and has regularly supplied soldiers with chewing gum since World War I. When I came across this fact recently, I was first surprised and then a bit upset. This means chewing gum in the classroom would benefit my ADHD child greatly -- I had already noticed over the past year that he is wild about chewing gum and that he actually listens better and can focus on a task better while chewing gum. I just thought it was one of his quirks. It turns out, chewing gum in the classroom would benefit all children (and maybe the teachers' sanity a bit too).

There have been a handful of studies that have shown chewing gum to increase memory as well as improve concentration, provide stress release and even aide in digestion and weight loss. However, no one has been able to give a concrete scientific explanation. Here are the theories born from a 2002 study from the University of Northumbria in England (Read the complete research findings here.) :
1) The physical activity of chewing gum increases the heart rate. This increases blood flow and delivers more oxygen to the brain.
2) Chewing causes the body to release insulin which docks in receptors located in the hippocampus portion of the brain, the key area of the brain for memory. MRI scans show the hippocampus"lighting up" during chewing.

Sydney Zentall, Ph.D., of Purdue University, and author of " ADHD and Education," studied the factors that help ADHD children succeed in the classroom and found that doing two things at once actually focuses the brain on the primary task. That is why you will notice ADHD students fidgeting, doodling, tapping their feet, rocking their chairs, etc. The secondary/underlying task of chewing gum will accomplish this as well.

With all of the knowledge we have regarding chewing gum's affect on memory, concentration, and other key factors to school success, why are there strict rules prohibiting chewing gum in most schools in the United States. Can't our school administrators overlook the "mess factor" for the improvement chewing gum can potentially bring?

I'd love to hear how you feel about this.

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Sources: wikipedia.org; Chewing Gum Expands the Mind by Ellen Sorokin on bnet.com; Chew Your Way to a Better Brain, BBC News; wrigley.com; Understanding the Science Behind Chewing Gum, Food Technology; hen ADHD Kids Fidget: Better Focus Through Multitasking by Roland Rotz, Ph.D., Sarah D. Wright , additude.com
Comments (2)
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That seems great! But if you really want to know the pros/cons of chewing gum, you need to find studies that aren't associated with companies that sell gum. Try google scholar; it provides links to free articles, some of which are cited (i.e., accredited, good quality, and a lower chance of bias). Also, your local library may provide free access to research databases that store thousands of articles on different topics. Some of these articles openly provide their sponsors either at the beginning or the end, so look out for that. I'm just writing this because you provided a link to Wrigley's website.

Hope this helps

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