Every now and again I receive an e-mail hoax so ridiculous that I simply cannot ignore it, even though that is the course of action recommended by all of my skeptical friends. “It’s just so preposterous!” they say “Don’t waste your time on something so obviously fake”, well I can’t ignore it! Clearly too many people believe this particular load of bollocks, too many concerned friends are forwarding it without checking, I mean it actually landed in MY inbox! Well, here is the “live ants devouring your brain” e-mail I received a few days ago;
Please read this and advise your friends and family! You may save
Incident One: A little boy died because surgeons found ants in his
brain! Apparently this boy fell asleep with some sweets in his mouth or
with some sweet stuff beside him.
Ants soon got to him and some ants in fact crawled into his ear which
somehow managed to go to his brain. When he woke up, he did not realize
that ants had gone to his head.
After that, he constantly complained about itchiness around his face.
His mother brought him to a doctor, but the doctor could not figure out
what was wrong with him. He took an X-ray of the boy and to his horror;
he found a group of live ants in his skull. Since the ants were still
alive, the doctor could not operate on him because the ants were
constantly moving around. The boy finally died. So please be careful
when leaving food stuff near your bed or when eating in bed. This might
attract ants. Most importantly,
NEVER you or your child eat sweets before going to bed. You or your
child might attract ants while you are asleep.
Incident Two: Another similar incident happened in a hospital in
Taiwan . This man was warded in the hospital and was constantly warned
by the nurses not to leave food stuff by his bedside because there were
ants about. He did not heed their advice. Ants finally got to him. His
family members said that the man constantly complained about headaches.
He died and a postmortem or autopsy was done on him. Doctors found a
group of live ants in his head. Apparently, the ants had been eating
bits of his brain. So friends, better be safe than sorry. Never leave
food stuff beside your bed you when you go to sleep.
Please forward this to your friends and relatives.
WAIT! Don’t forward it to anybody! Not until you have thought about what you have just read. We are talking about ants crawling into a person’s ear and somehow managing to enter the brain, then surviving long enough in this inhospitible environment for them to do damage to your brain – enough damage to kill you… OK, lets take a closer look, shall we?
The above image is a detailed diagram of the anatomy of the human ear and I am going to use it to help illustraste the potential hazards along the marching route of a platoon of tiny invader ants. You can clearly see the ear canal which is protected against insectoid invasion by ear wax and many tiny hairs to impede the passage of ants and other foreign objects. Directly between the ear canal and the middle ear lies the human eardrum. This is a barrier made of three layers of living tissue. Exquisitely sensitive tissue as anyone who has suffered a rupture of the eardrum could tell you. Any brain seeking ant would have to chew through this membrane in order to enter the deeper levels of the human ear, a violation which would not pass unnoticed.
Beyond the eardrum lies the confusing crossroads where the ants must choose to enter the fluid filled chambers of the cochlea, or hazard the sewer of the human ear, the Eustachian tube. A wrong turn here would see the ants ejected through your nostrils or swallowed unnoticed, their invasion foiled.
If our platoon of ants were to somehow survive the journey through the inner ear they would still have an insurmountable task ahead of them; traveling through the auditory nerve to the first of the brain’s defenses. You see, dear reader, the ants would then have to burrow through the three meningeal membranes which cover the brain and spinal cord, and hold the brain comfortably within it’s layer of cerebrospinal fluid.
From the above battle plan it should be abundantly clear that ants cannot possibly survive the journey through the human ear to the brain, any ant general proposing such a plan would be put up against the wall and shot! It cannot happen! Your brain is not under threat from insect invasion.
Furthermore, I’d like you to ponder the following points / questions after reading this e-mail (or any other e-mail making similar claims);
- What kind of ants are we talking about here? It may seem sticky, but details are very important, especially in cases such as the ant-in-th-brain e-mail,
- Where did this happen? Specifically which hospital / doctor treated the patients?
- The only “evidence” provided is anecdotal evidence. Anecdotal evidence does not carry any weight and cannot be considered as convincing proof of a claim, especially one as extraordinary as brain eating ants.
NO! This e-mail is too many kinds of fear mongering rubbish to have any basis in reality. Before you pass it on to your address book, press delete!