Cognitive Assessments in Hydration Research Involving Children: Methods and Considerations

Westfall D.R.a · Logan N.E.a · Khan N.A.b,c · Hillman C.H.a,d


The effects of optimal and insufficient hydration on human health have received increasing investigation in recent years. Specifically, water is an essential nutrient for human health, and the importance of hydration on cognition has continued to attract research interest over the last decade. Despite this focus, children remain a relatively understudied population relative to the effects of hydration on cognition. Of those studies investigating children, findings have been inconsistent, resulting from utilizing a wide variety of cognitive domains and cognitive assessments, as well as varied hydration protocols. Here, our aim is to create a primer for assessing cognition during hydration research in children. Specifically, we review the definition of cognition and the domains of which it is composed, how cognition has been measured in both field- and laboratory-based assessments, results from neuroimaging methods, and the relationship between hydration and academic achievement in children. Lastly, future research considerations are discussed.

© 2019 The Author(s) Published by S. Karger AG, Basel

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