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article imageMan is stung in 25 places by bees, for science

By Tim Sandle     Oct 1, 2015 in Science
A scientist has let bees sting him repeatedly in 25 different body locations. The idea was to map out the most sensitive areas of the body to bee stings.
For carrying out this rather bizarre feat, Michael Smith, of Cornell University, has been awarded the Ig Nobel Prize for physiology. Note this is not the "Nobel Prize" but a younger upstart called the ‘Ig.’ The awards are overseen by the Annals of Improbable Research magazine.
The Ig Nobel Prizes are a sort of U.S. parody of the Nobel Prizes. They are given each year for 10 unusual or trivial achievements in scientific research. The name of the award is a play on the words ignoble ("characterized by baseness, lowness, or meanness") and the Nobel Prize. Digital Journal has profiled the winners of previous prizes.
The standout prize awarded during the 2015 round relates to bee stings. With the study that led to the award, Dr. Michael Smith subjected himself to multiple stings each day on 25 body regions. These included his face, arms and genitals. The idea was to map out what region of the body is the most sensitive.
At the outset, according to The Daily Telegraph, Dr. Smith predicted that stings to his penis and testicles would be the hardest to bear. However it turned out that the most uncomfortable location for a bee sting was the nostril. Next was a sting to the upper lip.
For the research, Dr. Smith collaborated with Dr Justin Schmidt. Dr. Schmidt has developed the Schmidt Sting Pain Index. This index assesses the pain caused by wasps, bees and ants. This was also produced by self-experimentation. For his index, Schmidt receive dover 1000 stings from 150 different insect species.
Top of Schmidt’s sting index is the bullet ant. A clear warning not to get too close to one of these insects. The bullet ant (Paraponera clavata) can be found in the humid lowland rainforests from Nicaragua and the extreme east of Honduras south to Paraguay. According to the BBC, the ant delivers a venom-filled sting. The recipient goes onto experience the agonizing effects of the sting for the next 12 - 24 hours.
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