Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

High tungsten levels double stroke risk, study says

Date:
November 11, 2013
Source:
University of Exeter
Summary:
Using data from a large US health survey, a study has shown that high concentrations of tungsten -- as measured in urine samples -- is strongly linked with an increase in the occurrence of stroke, roughly equal to a doubling of the odds of experiencing the condition.

Tungsten is commonly used in a wide range of devices including consumer products such as mobile phones and computers, and a number of industrial and military products.
Credit: max blain / Fotolia

High levels of tungsten in the body could double the risk of suffering a stroke, a new study published in the open access journal PLOS ONE has found.

Related Articles


Using data from a large US health survey, the study has shown that high concentrations of tungsten -- as measured in urine samples -- is strongly linked with an increase in the occurrence of stroke, roughly equal to a doubling of the odds of experiencing the condition.

Conducted by a team from the University of Exeter, the study represents the most comprehensive analysis to date of the potential health effects of the metal.

According to figures from the World Health Organization, stroke is currently the second leading cause of death in the Western world, ranking only second to heart disease. It is also the leading cause of disability in adults, often resulting in loss of motor control, urinary incontinence, depression and memory loss.

The research used data from the US based National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), analyzing information for 8614 participants aged between 18 and 74 over a 12 year period.

Higher tungsten levels were found to be strongly associated with an increase in the prevalence of stroke, independent of typical risk factors. Importantly, the findings show that tungsten could be a significant risk factor for stroke in people under the age of 50.

Whilst our current exposure to tungsten is thought to be very low, recent years have seen a significant increase in the demand and supply of the material -- which is commonly used in consumer products such as mobile phones and computers, as well as a number of industrial and military products.

During its production, small amounts of the metal can be deposited in the environment, eventually making their way into water systems and onto agricultural land. With largely unknown health consequences, tungsten has been identified as a toxicant of emerging concern.

Lead author of the research, Dr Jessica Tyrrell, of the University of Exeter Medical School's European Centre for Environment and Human Health, said "Whilst currently very low, human exposure to tungsten is set to increase. We're not yet sure why some members of the population have higher levels of the metal in their make-up, and an important step in understanding and preventing the risks it may pose to health will be to get to the bottom of how it's ending up in our bodies."

The tungsten-stroke relationship observed in this research highlights another example of the potentially negative impact new materials can have on health. Recent years have seen an exponential increase in the production of chemicals for commercial exploitation, including the introduction of nanotechnology. In many cases the health effects of these chemicals are largely unknown and there are few controls to prevent their discharge into the environment.

Another of the paper's authors, Dr Nicholas Osborne, added "The relationship we're seeing between tungsten and stroke may only be the tip of the iceberg. As numerous new substances make their way into the environment, we're accumulating a complex 'chemical cocktail' in our bodies. Currently we have incredibly limited information on the health effects of individual chemicals and no research has explored how these compounds might interact together to impact human health."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Exeter. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Jessica Tyrrell, Tamara S. Galloway, Ghada Abo-Zaid, David Melzer, Michael H. Depledge, Nicholas J. Osborne. High Urinary Tungsten Concentration Is Associated with Stroke in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 1999–2010. PLoS ONE, 2013; 8 (11): e77546 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0077546

Cite This Page:

University of Exeter. "High tungsten levels double stroke risk, study says." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 11 November 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/11/131111185512.htm>.
University of Exeter. (2013, November 11). High tungsten levels double stroke risk, study says. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 25, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/11/131111185512.htm
University of Exeter. "High tungsten levels double stroke risk, study says." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/11/131111185512.htm (accessed April 25, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

85 Killed in Niger by Meningitis Since Start of Year

85 Killed in Niger by Meningitis Since Start of Year

AFP (Apr. 24, 2015) A meningitis outbreak in Niger has killed 85 people since the start of the year prompting authorities to close schools in the capital Niamey until Monday. Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
C-Section Births a Trend in Brazil

C-Section Births a Trend in Brazil

AFP (Apr. 24, 2015) More than half of Brazil&apos;s babies are born via cesarean section, as mothers and doctors opt for a faster and less painful experience despite the health risks. Duration: 02:02 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Anti-Malaria Jab Hope

Anti-Malaria Jab Hope

Reuters - News Video Online (Apr. 24, 2015) The world&apos;s first anti-malaria vaccine could get the go-ahead for use in Africa from October if approved by international regulators. Paul Chapman reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
3D Food Printing: The Meal of the Future?

3D Food Printing: The Meal of the Future?

AP (Apr. 23, 2015) Developers of 3D food printing hope the culinary technology will revolutionize the way we cook and eat. (April 23) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins