Tungsten in Mobile Devices May Cause Stroke

January 12, 2014

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article. 

1. component /kəmˈpoʊnənt, kɒm-/ (n.) – a part of something, usually a whole
Example: The home button is an important component of iPhone.

2. role /roʊl/ (n.) – purpose or function of something
Example: Nowadays, phone calls and text messages play a huge role in communication.

3. constant /ˈkɒnstənt/ (adj.) – happening continuously
ExampleConstant noise from the CPU may mean that the computer has a problem.

4. tip of the iceberg /tɪp ʌv ði ˈaɪsbɜrg/ (idiom) – noticeable part of something that is greater or bigger
Example: What she said on the phone is just the tip of the iceberg since there are many details behind the story.

5. breakthrough /ˈbreɪkˌθru/ (n.) – recent important development or discovery
Example: Many scientists consider music’s ability to improve intelligence as a breakthrough.


Read the text below.
A recent study revealed that tungsten, a metal component in mobile phones, could play a huge role in increasing a person’s risk of having stroke.

As the fourth major disease in Britain, stroke causes death among thousands of people yearly. Victims suffer from disability and those who survive still need constant aid.

To determine the relationship between exposure to tungsten and stroke, scientists from the University of Exeter [EK-si-ter] in Britain examined 8,614 US citizens between 18 and 74 years old. For 12 years, the researchers investigated the individuals by using different health surveys.

The research showed that some participants with high level of tungsten in their bodies gained stroke, especially those who are under 50. Scientists thus concluded that those with increased amount of tungsten tend to have bigger chances of getting stroke.

Lead researcher Dr. Jessica Tyrrell said that humans’ current exposure to tungsten is still low but she expects it to increase in the future. Tyrrell’s co-author named Dr. Nicholas Osborne also said that this expected rise of tungsten presence in the human body may only be a tip of the iceberg.

Osborne said so because other harmful elements may also be present in technology products. However, no research yet has discussed the possible effects of combined chemicals in one’s body.

Experts also recognize that one’s lifestyle and eating habits are major factors in having stroke. Thus, further studies are needed to learn more on tungsten’s direct effects in the body. Nonetheless, scientists already consider this recent study as a major breakthrough.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.  

Discussion A

·         Will you use your mobile phone less often after reading the story? Why or why not?
·         How do you think this study can affect mobile phone manufacturing?

Discussion B

·         Do you think people can no longer live without mobile phones and computers nowadays?
·         How does using mobile phones affect your daily life? Please discuss briefly.


January 12, 2014