In 2015 a young boy went for a swim, and little did he know that at that moment a deadly microscopic organism was making its way to his brain. Michael John Riley Jr. was only a short amount of time away from his freshmen year. Michael was qualified for Junior Olympics three times in track, and he also swam on the cross country team. It started off with a headache then just days later, he died. Michael’s doctor said, “The idea that someone who had such a fantastic future would get such an amoeba and would be primary amebic meningoencephalitis and it’s unfortunately not a good outcome.” The cause of this tragic death, amoeba. Where Michael lived (Houston, Texas) there are no natural lakes, every single one of them are man made (CBSN). If you want to learn more about Michael's story, check out Amoeba’s have small structures in the cell that help them to navigate in warm freshwater areas and other places. Amoebas have the ability to be able to change their shape a squeeze through small areas. Interestingly, amoebas can harm your body as well.

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What Is The Function Of The Amoeba?

Amoeba function like a part of the food web. The amoeba cell eat bacteria with a specialized structure called pseudopods. Specialized structures are special organelles that only one cell has. The amoeba cell has the specialized structure of pseudopods. These pseudopods surround the food and engulf it, pseudopods only eat bacteria, algae, plant cells, and protozoa. (Therefore, amoeba are found in warm waters where bacteria and algae grow.) Another function of the amoeba cell is the nucleus. The nucleus controls reproduction and is centrally located inside of the amoeba. Without the nucleus, the amoeba cell wouldn’t be able to function. According to Grolier, the nucleus controls what the pseudopods do, and how the amoeba is a “consumer and scavenger.” Amoeba are made of a flexible shape that allows them to change shape as needed.

What Is the Amoebas Structure?

Amoeba have many different organelles that can also be found in cells. For instance, the white blood cell also has pseudopods. There are many parts to the amoeba, such as the cell membrane, Nucleus, the Contractile Vacuole, pseudopods, the Food vacuole, and cytoplasm. The cell membrane is very thin and it is also flexible, which helps amoebas move and change shape. Contractile vacuoles collect the excess water from cytoplasms, and take it out of the cell. According to Patience Hall Science Explorer, the Food Vacuoles are made from when two pseudopod ends fuse together and their is some broken down food located inside the vacuole. The amoeba’s specialized structure is called Pseudopods, and they use these to alter the cell amoebas shape. Nucleus are like brains, they control all of the actions of the amoeba such as reproduction. The amoeba reproduces by something called fission. Once the amoeba reaches a certain size that's when they use fission to reproduce. There are divisions in the amoeba that result in two different daughter cells. Daughter cells feed, grow and divide. (This is also called asexual reproduction.)

Amoeba enter the human body
Wear nose clips or hold your nose, and don’t swim underwater in hot springs or warm fresh water
Naegleria Fowleri
Treatment in hospitals can save your life
Amoeba swim in fresh water
Swim in other bodies of water

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How Do Amoebas Eat the Brain?

Next time you swim in the warm ocean or a lake, remember the tiny cells living among the deep waters waiting to feed on your brain, the amoeba. Once they enter through the passage of your nose, they go straight for their prize, your delicious brain. After that, it is a matter of time before the symptoms of the life threatening disease Naegleria Fowleri, start to show. According to the video, Teen Beats Odds and Survives Brain Eating Amoeba CBSN, the symptoms of Naegleria Fowleri do not show until the amoeba starts to feed on your brain. Unfortunately, by the time these zombie cells reach your brain there is only a 98% rate of surviving. Out of the 123 people infected with this awful disease, there only 3 survivors. Amoeba, is a deadly organism that can kill you. How does amoeba eat the brain? The process starts off in warm fresh water, where there is plants, algae, or bacteria growing. Amoeba are attracted to bacteria, plant cells, and algae because that is what they feed on. They alter their shape by expanding their pseudopods. The only passage way that the amoeba could enter your system is the nose. Therefore, you can drink a glass of water with amoeba inside and not be affected by them. After that, they swim up towards your brain, and crawl in. Once the amoeba starts to feed on the brain it is only a matter of time before it kills its victim. The infection called Naegleria Fowleri has symptoms, but the worst part about the amoeba is that you cannot tell that you are infected until they start to eat the brain. It seems like its is very common or easy to be infected affected with amoeba, it's not. In fact, according to webMD, “It doesn't happen often. But, most summers, several americans-- usually healthy, young people-- suffer sudden, tragic deaths from brain eating amoebas.” There are treatments for these brain eating zombie cells, but a low amount of patients survive. While amoeba are easy to catch, you can take precautions that may just save your life. Precautions include, try not to swim in warm fresh waters later in the summer, wear a nose when you are in fresh water and doing activities like swimming, boating, water skiing, also be sure not to kick around mud underneath the surface when underwater.

Amoeba enter through the nose
Person who is infected starts to show symptoms
Amoeba then enter the brain
They start to feed on your brain
Treatment is too late
Patients die within 18 days
Treatment works for the patient
Patients live


In conclusion, amoeba are your worst nightmare in microscopic form. They eat your brains, give you life threatening diseases, and cannot be seen by the naked eye. Pseudopods are very similar to venus fly traps, they wait for their prey to arrive then slowly start to close in on it, until bam, they close their mouth shut and engulf it. What would happen if the world didn’t have amoebas? Well, everyone could go swimming in fresh waters without worrying about their lives being taken by a microscopic organism that feeds on bacteria, algae, and plant cells. . Many people may think that amoeba are just single celled organisms, but really they are deadly, brain eating, organisms that can kill you by infecting you with the disease, Naegleria Fowleri.


Works Cited

DeNoon, Daniel J. “Brain-Eating Amoeba in Neti Pots.” Webmd, 2017, Accessed 30 Jan. 2017.
Grolier. “Amoeba.”, 2017, Accessed 30 Jan. 2017.
“How a Tiny Amoeba Can Eat Your Brain.”, DNews, Accessed 30 Jan. 2017.
Jenner, Jan, et al. Patience Hall Science Explorer: From Bacteria to Plants. Needham, Pearson Prentice Hall, 2005.
Medhaker, Ajit. “The Structure and Life Cycle of Amoeba.” Biology Discussion, 2017, Accessed 2 Feb. 2017.
“PowerKnowledge Life Science: Pond Food Chains Life Among The Tiny.” PowerKNowledge Life Science, 2017, pp. 1-12. Life Science; Pond Food Chains Life Among The Tiny. Accessed 30 Jan. 2017.
“Protozoa.” BrainPOP, 2017, Accessed 30 Jan. 2017.
Science Project, Shelly. “The Amoeba.”, Shelly, 2017, Accessed 2 Feb. 2017.
“Teen Beats Odds and Survives Brain Eating Amoeba CBS.”, youtube, Accessed 30 Jan. 2017.
“Twelve Year Old Girl Is ThE Third Person to Survive Brain Eating Amoeba.”, 2017, Accessed 30 Jan. 2017.