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Appetite. 2010 Dec;55(3):679-84. doi: 10.1016/j.appet.2010.10.001. Epub 2010 Oct 8.

Detrimental effects of gum chewing on vigilance in children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

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Department of Clinical and Developmental Neuropsychology, University of Groningen, The Netherlands.


Impairments of attention are cardinal features of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and can seriously affect the daily life of children with ADHD. Despite effective treatment strategies, there is a need of further treatment options that can be added to available and well established treatments. Further treatment options are needed since available treatments are often time consuming, expensive and limited regarding their external validity. Recent research demonstrated that gum chewing has beneficial effects on cognition including certain aspects of attention. Therefore, gum chewing may benefit children with ADHD in situations requiring particular cognitive efforts. In a crossover study, attentional functioning of 32 children with ADHD and 32 children without the condition was examined. All participants were assessed with chewing gum and without chewing gum. A computerized test was used for the assessment of vigilance and sustained attention. The findings of the present study suggest that gum chewing during task execution has detrimental effects on vigilance of both healthy children and children with ADHD. Sustained attention was not affected by gum chewing. Chewing gum, therefore, appears not to improve attentional performance in children with ADHD.

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