What's better than brain doping? Cello Scrotum is what.

OK I have a lot to learn. I was (and still am) pretty proud of the April 1 prank I pulled off this year with many other bloggers announcing a fake crackdown on brain doping. But my joke is not even close to this one. A letter in a recent issue of BMJ has announced that the malady known as Cello Scrotum was in fact made up. Why did they make this up? In response to a publication about guitar nipple (for more on this see CNN and the Times Online). And now they have confessed only 35 years later.

And I must say - God Bless Pubmed Central. Because here is the original very brief letter which I am posting below:

6 comments:

  1. Sir -
    One of the reasons I like to read _Nature_ and _The Economist_ is the archaic Britishness of their letter columns. These BMJ letters are of the same delightful nature.

    Speaking of "etc." what's up with the closing phrase "I am, etc."? I mean I *get* the Sir part -- a relic of the days when the editorial staff of a journal was often one male person -- but I can't make heads or tails of the closing -- anybody have an idea?

    I am, etc.
    Jonathan Badger

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  2. I was wondering this. I just figured it was like an abbreviation for something like "I am humbly yours ..."

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  3. Note the perpetrators of this hoax include a member of the House of Lords, no less.

    The BMJ actually has a tradition of running non-serious pieces, especially in the Christmas issue -- articles that are research (sort of) but on non-serious topics, like the histology of haggis, for example, or the correlation between publishing success and HLA-type.

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  4. Thanks Andy. Not sure what happened to my text in the post about the House of Lords. But that is one of the more delicious parts of this story.

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  5. Before I read the original, I feared that "cello" was in the sense of "cello tape" -- and that the disease caused the sufferer's scrotum to become transparent.

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  6. The LA Times has an article about this today (but I read it here first)! http://www.latimes.com/news/science/la-sci-cello30-2009jan30,0,597841.story

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