Cello Scrotum

I was planning on taking a hiatus from posting until February, but this one is too good to pass up. Thanks to everyone who emailed me about it.

Back in the 1970s Elaine Murphy noticed an unusual condition, Guitar Nipple, described in the British Medical Journal. She suspected it might be a hoax, which inspired her to invent a similar bizarre condition, Cello Scrotum, which she detailed in a letter to the journal. She got her husband to send the letter in his name.

Thirty years on the couple noticed someone had referenced their report, and so they decided it was time to come clean.

Coincidentally, there is a medical condition called Violin Deformity. It's the name plastic surgeons use to describe excessively wide hips.

And, of course, the Murphys were not the first scientific spoofers. I've reported previously on one Dr. Egerton Yorrick Davis who wrote a letter to Medical News back in 1884 describing "an uncommon form of vaginismus". He claimed to have treated a couple who became locked together during intercourse as a result of a vaginal spasm. The letter was a hoax, and its true author was Sir William Osler.

I'll begin regular posting again on Monday.


Posted on Thu Jan 29, 2009


...There is actually a little blurb about guiatr nipple in a book I have. It lists other things...mostly considered 'modern maladies' like carpal tunnel.
Posted by Maegan  on  Thu Jan 29, 2009  at  08:14 AM
I think I'm getting didgeridoo cheeks.
Posted by Big Gary  on  Thu Jan 29, 2009  at  10:37 AM
... and Jew's-Harp Teeth. :coolcheese:
Posted by Big Gary  on  Thu Jan 29, 2009  at  10:41 AM
"Move over, BlackBerry Thumb. The slouched posture of hand-held tech-device addicts is birthing a slew of new maladies: Think BlackBerry Neck, BlackBerry Back, even BlackBerry Belly."
From a July 14, 2008 article in the Globe and Mail:
Posted by Canadarm  on  Thu Jan 29, 2009  at  02:46 PM
Wait a minute, Sir William Osler? He's a founding medical father hereabouts, the nearest hospital is named after him. Apparently a great prankster, though, his name for "an uncommon form of vaginismus" was "Penis captivus", apparently written in annoyed response to an article in the The Philadelphia Medical News, the same journal "Penis captivus" was described. Both men were on the editorial board.
Refer to the Wikipedia article, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Penis_captivus
which makes it clear that Penis captivus should not be confused with the relatively common condition of vaginismus.
Posted by Canadarm  on  Thu Jan 29, 2009  at  03:02 PM
Good to have you back, Alex. I was afraid I'd see your face on the side of a milk carton soon.
Posted by Cranky Media Guy  on  Thu Jan 29, 2009  at  06:07 PM
CMG....careful, don't spook him,,,,,
Posted by Canadarm  on  Thu Jan 29, 2009  at  08:46 PM
My bad.

By the way, nice name, Canadarm. I remember seeing the original Canadarm at the World's Fair in Vancouver in '86.
Posted by Cranky Media Guy  on  Fri Jan 30, 2009  at  01:47 AM
Let's not forget the newest injury faced these days....Wii elbow.
Posted by Madd Maxx  on  Fri Jan 30, 2009  at  10:36 AM
Here's me thinking you were just neglecting us in favour of Weird Universe.
Posted by Smerk  on  Fri Jan 30, 2009  at  10:57 PM
thks CMG, but I'm just a borrowed name, the original is safe in a museum....
Alex,,,,,Monday, right?
Posted by Canadarm  on  Sat Jan 31, 2009  at  12:04 AM
"there is a medical condition called Violin Deformity. It's the name plastic surgeons use to describe excessively wide hips"

Be aware that what plastic surgery calls a "medical condition" nowadays, usually isn't a true medical condition in a medical sense. They just call elements that are part of the normal shape variety in humans (and in no way excessive) a "medical condition" so people think they have a serious medical affliction and something should be done about it. And they (the plastic surgeons) then can make money.
Posted by LaMa  on  Sun Feb 01, 2009  at  04:24 AM
LaMa, the opposite can also be true; I was involved at University with an argumant about whether to support a Malaysian student who was raising money for a villager to have plastic surgery. Arguments against included yours, that the 'deformity' was merely a natural variety of human shape; The 'Hollywood Ideal' of all humans having that particular attribute that this village girl lacked; The flying in the face of God's will argument about her being Created taht way; and the cultural one in that her people ate "noodles, soups and shit" so she didn't need the surgery that much.

Oh, what was wrong with the village girl?

No lower jaw.
Posted by D F Stuckey  on  Sun Feb 01, 2009  at  07:00 PM
D F: Urgh, yeah, that indeed is quite the other extreme.
Posted by LaMa  on  Mon Feb 02, 2009  at  12:11 AM
I have a bassoon nose. :(
Posted by Sakano  on  Fri Feb 06, 2009  at  04:36 PM
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