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Cello Scrotum, 1974-2009: History of a Medical Hoax

Lawrence M. Wyner
From: Medical Problems of Performing Artists: Volume 25 Number 3: Page 120 (September 2010)

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Abstract: News services recently broke the story of a medical hoax perpetrated through the literature involving purported urological symptoms of cellists, referred to as "cello scrotum." The background of this affair was researched in order to place it in an historical perspective. Methods: The originators of the hoax were interviewed. Literature and internet searches were performed to sift fact from fiction. Results: "Cello scrotum" was a descendant of some very legitimate musicians' maladies, which have been described over the past three centuries. From 1974, when it was first described, until 2009, when it was officially retracted, "cello scrotum" approached the status of an urban legend. Conclusions: The "cello scrotum" affair should not detract from the very real medical ailments of serious musicians. The entire subspecialty of performance medicine has evolved to treat patients with these concerns.

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