Monday, September 22, 2014

“Caffeine and Kids: Cause for Concern?”

Project GreenLab Discussion Series: “Caffeine and Kids: Cause for Concern?”

Wednesday, September 24, 5:30 pm, Conant 465, with pizza, soft drinks, cookies and conversation!

Open and Free to the Public – No Reservation Necessary

Caffeine is a naturally occurring chemical compound that was first isolated in pure form from Arabian mocha beans in 1819. We know that caffeine is found in the beans, leaves, and fruit of some plants, but did you know that it acts as a natural pesticide that paralyzes and kills certain insects feeding on the plants? Caffeine has been extracted from coffee beans and tea leaves, and consumed by humans for centuries, where it acts as a central nervous system stimulant, making: “the brain a little brainier, the muscles a little springier, the blood vessels a little tighter, the digestion a little more efficient.” Caffeine is the world’s most widely consumed psychoactive substance, and it is legal and unregulated in nearly all jurisdictions. Caffeine is also recognized as a food additive, and there have been increasing concerns about the health effects of caffeine in food products that target kids as the primary consumer.

This GreenLab discussion will be led by Dr. Ed Brush (chemistry) and Dr. Kathleen Laquale (Movement Arts, Health Promotion and Leisure Studies), and will include a brief overview of how caffeine works in the body, the amounts in various foods, and how kid’s products appear to be targeted with caffeine additives. We will conclude with a discussion of the possible health effects of the increasing exposure to caffeine on kids. 

Following the GreenLab discussion participants are invited to visit the BSU Observatory for their weekly viewing of the night skies.

The Project GreenLab discussion series focuses on developing a better understanding of the role of chemicals in our daily lives. These discussions are open to the BSU campus community, and to the general public.

The mission of Project GreenLab is to bring the Principles of Green Chemistry into research, curriculum development and outreach education. Project GreenLab is an outreach initiative of the Bridgewater State University Center for the Advancement of STEM Education (CASE).

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