Chewing and Attention: A Positive Effect on Sustained Attention

Article, Review English OPEN
Yoshiyuki Hirano ; Minoru Onozuka (2015)
  • Publisher: Hindawi Limited
  • Journal: BioMed Research International, volume 2,015 (issn: 2314-6133, eissn: 2314-6141)
  • Related identifiers: pmc: PMC4449948, doi: 10.1155/2015/367026
  • Subject: Review Article | R | Medicine | Article Subject
    mesheuropmc: stomatognathic diseases | digestive, oral, and skin physiology | stomatognathic system

Chewing is crushing food not only to aid swallowing and digestion, but also to help stress relief and regulate cognitive function, especially in attention. It is well known that chewing gum is used for sleepiness prevention during work, learning, and driving, suggesting a link between chewing and sustained attention. We hypothesized that chewing elevates attention and/or alertness, leading to improvements in cognitive performance. We carried out a systematic review of the PubMed database. We inspected the attributes of effects on attention in studies investigating the effects of chewing on attention or alertness conducted with pre-post design in healthy subjects, except elderly. We identified 151 references, 22 of which were included: 14 (64%) showed positive attributes of effects on attention, 1 (5%) showed negative attributes of effects on attention, 5 (23%) showed both positive and negative attributes of effects on attention, and 2 (9%) showed no significant attributes of effects on attention. Thus, positive attributes of effects of chewing on attention, especially on sustained attention, were shown in over half of the reports. These effects also appeared with improvement in mood and stress relief and were influenced by time-on-task effect. Further studies are needed, but chewing could be useful for modifying cognitive function.
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