This study tests the hypothesis that chewing gum leads to cognitive benefits through improved delivery of glucose to the brain, by comparing the cognitive performance effects of gum and glucose administered separately and together. Participants completed a battery of cognitive tests in a fully related 2×2 design, where one factor was Chewing Gum (gum vs. mint sweet) and the other factor was Glucose Co-administration (consuming a 25 g glucose drink vs. consuming water). For four tests (AVLT Immediate Recall, Digit Span, Spatial Span and Grammatical Transformation), beneficial effects of chewing and glucose were found, supporting the study hypothesis. However, on AVLT Delayed Recall, enhancement due to chewing gum was not paralleled by glucose enhancement, suggesting an alternative mechanism. The glucose delivery model is supported with respect to the cognitive domains: working memory, immediate episodic long-term memory and language-based attention and processing speed. However, some other mechanism is more likely to underlie the facilitatory effect of chewing gum on delayed episodic long-term memory.
- Chewing gum