Home
In this issue
April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review

Chewing gum and memory

By Harvard Mental Health Letter






JewishWorldReview.com | Many people chew gum to relieve stress, and some believe that it helps them to concentrate. Since 2000, a small group of neuroscience researchers has engaged in a spirited debate about whether chewing gum might improve attention, memory, and other aspects of cognition.


Since 2002, when English researchers published a paper on the topic, a dozen studies have followed on the topic of gum chewing and cognition. The evidence is not sufficient to support the claim that chewing gum improves working memory (information needed temporarily, such as phone numbers) or episodic memory (initial and delayed recall of information such as words). Further muddying the waters, some of the research was funded by companies that sell gum and stand to profit from pro-gum findings.


One reaction to this line of research might be laughter. In fact, one of our editorial board members suggested we present this summary "gum in cheek." What the research does do is remind us that learning and memory are brain-based activities that are affected by external factors.


FREE SUBSCRIPTION TO INFLUENTIAL NEWSLETTER

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". In addition to INSPIRING stories, HUNDREDS of columnists and cartoonists regularly appear. Sign up for the daily update. It's free. Just click here.


Context, or environment, affects learning and recall. With a tip of the hat to the author Marcel Proust, whose childhood memories came rushing back after he bit into an almond-flavored madeleine, some gum researchers have investigated whether it is the flavor of chewing gum that helps people retain and recall memories. In scientific terms, this is known as context-dependent learning. Gum studies have evaluated a variety of flavored gums and unflavored "controls," but the results are inconclusive.


Other research is based on the premise that the brain is a hungry organ — a "selfish" consumer of energy. Although it accounts for only 2% of body weight, the brain uses about half of the body's energy resources. Along these lines, one theory is that gum may improve memory because the act of chewing tricks the stomach into thinking it is about to receive food. Receptors in the stomach stimulate the release of insulin, the hormone that increases uptake of glucose by cells, including those in the brain. A related theory — also not proven — is that the act of chewing gum may increase blood flow to the brain, delivering not only nutrients but also additional oxygen.


For now, though, the theories continue to outpace the evidence. People who want to boost their memory can certainly chew gum if they want to, but there is no guarantee it will help.


Smith A. "Effects of Chewing Gum on Cognitive Function, Mood and Physiology in Stressed and Non-stressed Volunteers," Nutritional Neuroscience (Feb. 2010): Vol. 13, No. 1, pp. 7-16.

Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

Interested in a private Judaic studies instructor — for free? Let us know by clicking here.

Comment by clicking here.




© 2012, PRESIDENT AND FELLOWS OF HARVARD COLLGE. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED DISTRIBUTED BY TRIBUNE MEDIA SERVICES, INC.