Magazine article Insight on the News

Chewing Gum Expands the Mind. (Science)

Magazine article Insight on the News

Chewing Gum Expands the Mind. (Science)

Article excerpt

Maybe walking and chewing gum at the same time shouldn't be so tough after all. A joint study carried out by the University of Northumbria and the Cognitive Research Unit in England has found that the act of chewing gum improves short- and long-term memory by as much as 35 percent.

Spearmint, cinnamon or bubble-gum flavor -- it doesn't matter. The key to better brain power is the repetitive chewing motion, according to the study, which was presented at the British Psychological Society's annual conference in Blackpool.

"The results were extremely clear; specifically we found that chewing gum targeted memory," says Andrew Scholey, a scientist with the university's human cognitive-neuroscience unit who carried out the study. "People recalled more words and performed better in tests on working memory."

Why does chewing gum stimulate one's memory? Scientists don't know for sure, but they are working on two theories. One is that the gentle exercise of chewing raises a person's heart rate, which increases the flow of oxygen to the brain. …

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