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Jul 18, 2013 09:43 AM EDT

Drinking Water Helps Boost One’s Mental Performance: Study

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Drinking plain water helps one's brain work faster, according to a new study published in the journal Frontiers in Human Neuroscience. The study found that when adults drink water, they tend to concentrate and perform better on mental tests.

The researchers at the University Of East London School Of Psychology in England arrived at the conclusion after asking 34 adult participants to take part in a series of cognitive tests. One set of people were allowed to drink about three cups of water (24 ounces/ 775 millilitres) before the test and the remaining set of people did not drink any water.

For the reaction test, participants had to press a button as soon as they saw an object on a computer screen. The researchers found out that the response time of people who drank water before the tests, was 14 percent faster than those who did not.

Researchers said that the speediness was due to reduction of dehydration, which actually 'shrinks the brain.'

"There are also hormonal theories about how dehydration affects the brain and it is possible that water is fixing an imbalance there too," saidDr. Caroline Edmonds, lead study author. "Around 80 percent of the brain is water, so it is clearly important to make sure it gets enough."

The results were apt particularly for thirsty people. The researchers claim that the feeling of thirst, might not allow people to seriously pay attention to a task which in turn affects the response time.

The study shows 'freeing up of attentional resources' when people quench their thirst.

"It might be that physiological processes [of drinking or not drinking water] affect performance on different tasks in different ways," said Edmonds, of the University Of East London School Of Psychology in England. "Thirst might lead to better performance on some tasks, because the hormone vasopressin, which activates the thirst response, has also been linked to attention and arousal."

Other studies on water consumption and cognition states that

- Water consumption was not linked to other cognitive tests such as memory of words and

- Water consumption does not always enhance cognition. In one test, participants actually fared better if they did not drink water before the test.

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