Needing to get smarter? Eat ice. University of Pennsylvania study reveals that people with anemia and blood iron deficiency benefit from the habit.
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If you've ever sat next to someone chewing ice, you've probably stopped to wonder if the habit can be classified as a nervous tic or a purpose task.
Now a recently released University of Pennsylvania (US) survey has come to clarify the doubt. Apparently, ice-chewing people unconsciously motivated by their body's iron deficiency may be improving their cognitive ability - despite the annoying noise they make without realizing it.
The craving for chewing solid-state water has a name. Among those with iron deficiency, pagophagy works like having a cup of coffee.
To reach this conclusion, volunteers (disabled or not) were tested for alertness, alertness and reaction time. For the first group, a glass of ice stones was provided. The second group received the same amount in water at room temperature.
Without ice, the first group had worse results than the second. With ice, the answers were equivalent to those of healthy people.
Why this happens is not yet clear. Scientists believe the ice is triggering some mechanism that allows more blood (hence more oxygen) to reach the brain.
In addition to pagophagy, other symptoms of iron deficiency are restless leg syndrome, reduced appetite, fatigue, dizziness, headaches, and tongue inflammation. The habit of chewing ice has been related to the latter symptom. The causes of anemia may be bleeding from bleeding, deficient iron absorption or pregnancy.