Published August 04, 2011
Just in time for back-to-school, here comes the Bazooka Boost.
According to a new study in the brainy Journal of Adolescence, eighth-graders who chew gum during math class and homework time score higher on standardized tests than their empty-mouthed classmates.
Take that, Assistant Principal Lockjaw! How much longer ‘til Dubble Bubble is served in the cafeteria? Aren’t school districts across America trying everything but dynamite to lift math scores?
Researchers at the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston aren't sure why gum chewing might raise grades. They say maybe the chewing motion increases blood flood to the brain. Or maybe repetitive chewing reduces stress.
The researchers didn’t mention one other obvious possibility that some 13-year-olds might: It’s really fun making that irritating popping sound in class.
“We did not explore the mechanism behind this relationship,” lead author Dr. Craig Johnston said. “However, there is research demonstrating an increase in blood flow in the brain during chewing.”
So don’t be surprised, when the children return to the classroom, if some begin agitating for a change in the no-gum rule. What’s a few wads beneath the desktops or a few stuck-in-the-hair emergencies compared to higher test scores and better college college prospects?
Some cynical teacher is sure to point out one important fact: The Baylor study was paid for by the William Wrigley Jr. Co., the Chicago-based gum giant. The Doublemint Twins may not have a problem with that. But some teachers might.
The classroom exchange that is sure to follow is what educators like to call “a teaching moment.”
Teacher: We can’t trust this study.
Eighth-grader: It’s in a magazine with very small print.
Teacher: Don’t Wrigley and the researchers have a conflict of interest of interest here?
Eighth-grader: Tell you what. Just for the sake of science, I’ll volunteer to chew gum in class for the rest of the school year. We’ll see how my grades turn out.
Chew on that!
Ellis Henican is an author, Fox News contributor and columnist for Newsday and amNewYork.