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Chewing gum makes you smart

IN a study likely to make school janitors cringe, American researchers said on Wednesday that chewing gum may boost academic performance in teenagers.

Many schools in the United States ban chewing gum because children often dispose of it under chairs or tables.

But a team led by Craig Johnston at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston found that students who chewed gum during math class had higher scores on a standardized math test after 14 weeks and better grades at the end of the term than students in the class who did not chew gum. The study was funded by chewing gum maker Wm Wrigley Jr Co.

"For the first time we've been able to show in a real-life kind of situation that students did perform better when they were allowed to chew," said Gil Leveille, director of the Wrigley Science Institute.

Leveille said Wrigley has gotten feedback from many of its gum customers who say chewing gum helps them stay focused. So, four years ago the company started the science institute to see if some of these claims have merit.

The researchers at Baylor studied four math classes with 108 students aged 13 to 16 from a Houston, Texas, school.

About half got free Wrigley's sugar-free gum to chew during class, homework and tests. The other half went without.

After 14 weeks, the gum chewers had a three percent increase in their math scores on the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills achievement test. But they found no difference in math scores between the two groups in another test called the Woodcock Johnson III Tests of Achievement.


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