'Cello Scrotum' Exposed as Medical Hoax

Spoof inflammatory condition had fooled experts for 34 years
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 28, 2009 2:20 AM CST
Cello player Yo-Yo Ma performs during the inauguration of the Museum of Islamic Art. The doctor who introduced "cello scrotum" to medical discourse has admitted the condition is a hoax.   (AP Photos/Maneesh Bakshi)
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(Newser) – The world's cellists can rest easy today knowing the dreaded "cello scrotum" is a myth, the Independent reports. A doctor who's a member of Britain's House of Lords has confessed that she invented the condition described in a letter to the British Medical Journal as a spoof. It has been referenced in articles on medical maladies for the last 34 years.

The doctor's chemist husband wrote a note to the influential journal after the couple read another letter on "guitarist's nipple"—which the doc believes was also a spoof. They were astonished their letter was published and triggered medical discussions of the "condition," which purportedly caused scrotums to swell. Cellists say they weren't worried about the ailment anyway. "You would have to be doing something fairly extreme to get that by playing the cello,” noted a musician for the London Symphony Orchestra.