Sometimes scientific fraud endangers patients, wastes precious public funding, and sullies the reputations of journals, researchers, and science in general. Other times it's just hilarious.Such is the case with "cello scrotum." In 1974, a British doctor sent a very short letter to the __British Medical Journal__ (__BMJ__) describing a case of the disorder in one of her patients, a professional cellist. Elaine Murphy, then a professor at Guy's and St Thomas' Hospital in London, has admitted to inventing the condition and submitting the joke letter, which was signed by her husband John. To the pair's surprise, the letter was accepted by the __BMJ__ and published in the journal's May 11 issue.
"I did once come across a case of 'cello scrotum' caused by irritation from the body of the cello. The patient in question was a professional musician and played in rehearsal, practice, or concert for several hours each day,"...
Interested in reading more?
Become a Member of
Receive full access to more than 35 years of archives, as well as TS Digest, digital editions of The Scientist, feature stories, and much more!