Thursday, 18 November 2010

Chapter 7: If it ain't broke, don't provide it with a higher education: Fee-ness Enlargement

When a scientist says something, his colleagues must ask themselves only whether it is true. When a politician says something, his colleagues must first of all ask, “Why does he say it?”

Leo Szilard, The Voice of Dolphins, 1961

My colleagues often ask if what I am saying is true. Then I say something which makes me sound like a politician, “I don’t think that’s the issue can I have some more money please?”

Allen A. Alan, Grant application for funding to study the lyrics of dolphin songs, 2010.

Illness: Fee-ness Enlargement
Discovered by: There is some difficulty in pinpointing one placebologist who first discovered this specific form of inflammation as rather than a single first patient there was in fact an epidemic that arose all at once. One morning at a specific point in time as indicated by a clock, thousands of university students woke up to find that they had grossly enlarged fee-ness.  Naturally this resulted in widespread panic and those that could summon the immense amount of energy required to haul their mammoth fee-ness through the doors of their student hovel went and reported their symptoms to their local placebologist or if they got lost, bank manager. Technically the first placebologist to publish the phenomenon was Dr Will Davitts; placebologist specialising in alternative rheumatology, 100m sprint champion and suspiciously bald neighbour of Universities Minister David Willetts.
Epidemiology: Fee-ness enlargement occurs primarily in university students and other fungi. Currently this disorder is only known in the UK but this may be because placebologists haven’t bothered looking anywhere else. Demographically fee-ness enlargement is spread evenly throughout all groups of university students. There is some evidence that high economic status represents a protective factor against the disorder. It doesn’t prevent it happening but the piles of money give the patient something to rest their gargantuan fee-ness on. Conversely, some students’ fee-ness can become so grossly engorged that they block entry to university to those with less money. It is thought that the lack of money cushioning for the fee-ness can cause severe chaffing in such individuals as they are forced to scrape their mighty fee-ness across the cold, hard floor. Nobody wants fee-ness chaffing.
Aetiology: Technically fee-ness enlargement is an alternative autoimmune disease. Autoimmune diseases as they occur in non-alternative medicine happen when the immune system of the non-alternative body erroneously attacks its own tissues. The alternative immune system is a much more formidable beast and is capable of attacking everyone’s alternative body at once. While suffering from fee-ness enlargement, the alternative immune system attacks the alternative tissues (which are man-sized and have a soothing balm coating) of its own alternative body. The alternative immune system then goes on to recognise everyone else’s body as belonging to it and attacks them as well. This explains the epidemic nature of this disease unless you’re stupid. As you might expect, the tissues the alternative immune system attacks in fee-ness enlargement are those of the fee-ness. Why this is the case is not fully understood but may be related to the student nature of those affected. The fee-ness is a relatively recently evolved organ and only occurs in the sub-species of human recognised as university students. Inappropriate stimulation of the alternative immune system, for example by something that might do that, may cause the alternative immune system to recognise the relatively new presence of the fee-ness as a foreign organism and attack it. The racist!
Symptoms: The fee-ness becomes inflamed, red, difficult to look at and upsetting to the individual’s balance. There is some pain when the fee-ness approaches maximal enlargement and the patients are driven by strange impulses to eat solely beans. The fee-ness can become so ridiculously massive that it can affect the sufferers’ hearing. Only particular frequencies of sound are lost due to the way the enlarged fee-ness filters noise. The filtering results primarily in politicians speaking on the need get poor students to fund higher education sounding like they are talking bollocks.
Treatment: Management of fee-ness enlargement can be divided into prevention and cure. Prevention relies on placebologists recognising fee-ness enlargement before it can occur. This is extremely difficult due to the rapidity with which enlargement of the fee-ness can occur. Warning signs include the student saying, “My fee-ness is big whereas previously it was small”. If this occurs and the student consults a placebologist rapidly enough then the alternative immune system can be protected from inappropriate stimulation. Oo-er. This is achieved by putting caps on universities. Research has shown that the sight of a university roof is highly irritating to the alternative immune system and putting a cap on them, possibly backwards so it looks cooler, can prevent this initial irritation.
Should fee-ness enlargement occur, it will occur in the entire student population and as such will be extremely difficult to treat. To reduce the inflammation the activity of the alternative immune system has to be suppressed until it recognises that it is attacking itself and feels foolish. One example of how this could be achieved is by showing the alternative immune system a picture of a Liberal Democrat. This is formally known as satire-oid treatment.

Friday, 29 October 2010

Chapter 6: There ain't no party like a stag club party: Delusions of Grand Deer.

Darwin has interested us in the history of nature's technology. 
Karl Marx, Capital, 1867

I don’t trust technology. It’s not natural. This message is very important. I’d drive anywhere to get it across.
Allen A. Alan, Quotation: The Placebologists Guide to Onions and Verse Podcast, 2009

Illness: Delusions of Grand Deer
Discovered by: This reasonably common disease, primarily affecting the alternative endocrine system, was first observed by Dr Alan on 25th October 2010 after he read some unrelated news about something or other. It has yet to be formally described in any journal of placebology or otherwise but it can be safely assumed that the placebology community will take his word for it. Placebologists by nature are refreshingly trusting. Some scientists did try to criticise this approach but were not believed and assumed to be part of a conspiracy to discredit the placebologists.
Epidemiology: Delusions of Grand Deer by definition can only affect the manliest men, women and children. These men are so manly that the merest glance at a tree will cause it to become a shelf. The simplest wink from them would cause anything female to fall instantly pregnant. In fact there is one documented case of an e-mail becoming pregnant after a manly man walked past. Machismo needs no spelling! Anyone that thinks the measures of manliness are outdated is probably being some sort of woman. Everyone knows that women are the worst kind of men. Of course in these modern times both women and children can attain magnificent levels of manliness. Anyone that says otherwise is going to get punched in the face which will prove it. Machismo needs no evidence! Not every tremendously manly person will develop this condition. Estimates of its prevalence range from anywhere between a set of two percentage points.  It has been suggested that there is a correlation between those suffering from these delusions and the manly refusal to use any sort of artificial means to create fire. Machismo needs no matches! Reesurch haz showed no evidence of dis.
Aetiology: The epidemiology of this conditions hints at the cause. Delusions of Grand Deer can primarily be thought of as being a result of excess alternative testosterone. However it is not the excess alternative testosterone which causes the gargantuan levels of manliness but rather the other way round. The mighty alternative testicles which produce the alternative testosterone notice the massive amounts of manliness and produce high levels of alternative testosterone to live-up to expectations. The alternative testosterone then proceeds to hang around the body intimidating the other alternative hormones with induced belching, heaving lifting and the reading of that week’s Stupid Stereotypes Magazine. Or FHM.
The manliness-induced excess alternative testosterone for the most part is harmless. However in some individuals it results in Delusions of Grand Deer. At risk individuals include those with more money than they know what to do with and also lords. It is thought by people who engage in thinking that the combination of excess wealth and excess alternative testosterone combine in the bloodstream to form clarksonxinol. Clarksonxinol is toxic to the brain reducing the capacity for logic, empathy and not punching things until they bleed out of their stupid, reprehensible faces. Other sources of clarksonxinol poisoning include rubbing yourself softly against any fast car and Die Hard 4.
Symptoms: The overriding symptom is the fixed belief that the world is overrun with giant deer and that only killing the deer and putting their heads on the wall will prevent them from taking over the world. For some reason the delusion demands that the wall the deer’s head be placed on is wallpapered with velvet. Any attempt to convince the sufferer that this is not true will result in the patient calling the enquirer “gay”. With further questioning it appears that the sufferer does not know what this means and are neither referring to sexuality or happiness. A typical quote from an individual with Delusions of Grand Deer is included below.
“The country is riddled with deer. Riddled I tell you!  Some of them are 50ft high. Massive they are. And they can’t be trusted. They’re up to something. Have you ever spoken to a stag? They’re all French you know. But not from France, that’s a lovely country. Dirty, proper French. I’ll stop them though. And the fox they rode in on. The only language those antler-endowed fiends understand is the bitter taste of lead. And fists. And grass probably.  The only thing worse than those giant deer is badgers. Coming over here. Stealing our jobs. Marrying our foreigners!”
Anton St Gontschlager. (Names have been changed for the sake of it)
It is a reasonably common sight to see individuals with this unfortunate condition trawling across the countryside with a gun in one hand, a fistful of sweaty money in the other and more than a glint of congealed madness in their eyes. Many secondary injuries occur when patients are unlucky enough to actually come across a stag and get stuck in a rut.
Treatment: If levels of clarksonxinol in the blood can be reduced then the symptoms of Delusions of Grand Deer will slowly subside over the course of approximately a period of time. This can either be accomplished by either reducing the patient’s wealth or their level of alternative testosterone.
1.      Testosterone Reduction: Much care has to be taken in this area of treatment. Early experiments where subjects were exposed to Sex and the City: The Movie resulted in 99% of those involved clawing their own souls out. This included the people conducting the experiment. 1% was Simon Cowell.

More recent innovations in alternative testosterone induction involve the use of Messy Divorce Leeches. When applied to the patient’s skin they are able to emasculate the blood successfully. They also remove the patient’s wealth by at least 50%, attacking the disease on two fronts. Side effects may include excess blood loss and feeling a bit icky.

2.      Wealth Reduction: A much simpler treatment and one utilised by most practicing placebologists. A hefty enough bill for consultation is successful in some percentage of cases. As mentioned previously Messy Divorce Leeches are helpful if the patient is stubborn enough to request treatment. Finally in a minority of cases the disease is self-curing as sufferers may become deluded enough to pay thousands of pounds for the head of a stag for their velvet walls.

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

Chapter 5: Experimental method in the madness: Miss Sci-Gone.

There is something fascinating about science.  One gets such wholesale returns of conjecture out of such a trifling investment of fact.
Mark Twain, Life on the Mississippi, 1883

Is there anymore of this trifle left?
Allen A. Alan, Why I Love Cottage Pie, 1999.

Illness: Miss Sci-Gone
Discovered by: The Miss Sci-Gone phenomenon was first haphazardly noticed by Dr Dean Burnett during his misguided attempts to administer scientific reasoning to homeopathic practitioners. As Dr Burnett is a neuroscientist, only aware of the simple workings of the actual human nervous system rather than a definitely properly trained placebologist with a full assumed understanding of alternative biology, he was ignorant of the devastating reaction they would exhibit. To this day these homeopathic practitioners wander the streets, clutching at any pseudoscience they can cram into their gibbering mouths. If you see them step away and watch in horror as they shamble past; throwing tarot cards at pigeons they consider insolent, rubbing their grimy bodies with the shattered remains of crystal skulls and reading Dan Brown novels.
Epidemiology: The exact nature of the spread of Miss Sci-Gone in the population is difficult to determine as the symptoms of the early stages of the syndrome are often similar to the normal behaviours of amateur practitioners of alternative medicine. Those in the advanced stages of Miss Sci-Gone are more easily recognised but are rendered impossible to study as scientific scrutiny of their symptoms further exacerbates them. Fortunately placebologists as alternative scientists have more sophisticated methods of analysis at their disposal. They do not apply science to these unfortunate individuals and thus can avoid making their condition worse. More advanced research methods place the proportion of the population afflicted with Miss Sci-Gone as, “Signs point to yes” and in extreme cases, “Outlook not so good”.
Aetiology: The symptoms of Miss Sci-Gone all result from an allergic reaction to scientific analysis. As scientific analysis is required to diagnose the syndrome an attempt at diagnosis can make the sufferer much worse. In fact even if someone doesn’t have Miss Sci-Gone and someone tries to diagnose them they may suddenly develop the allergy and get Miss Sci-Gone. Miss-Sci-Gone is therefore a fairly unusual disease in that it can be caused by itself.
In actual biology an allergy occurs when the immune system overreacts to a normally benign stimulus. The alternative immune system is in many ways a more sophisticated construct in that while capable of protecting the alternative body from alternative disease it can also protect the alternative body from bad vibes and from feeling a bit iffy. Science being a method of developing and testing models that approximate the truth can make those with a highly developed alternative immune system feel a bit ill at ease as it exposes the alternative body to bad vibes and facts that conflict with what it might want to be true.  Exposure to the truth can be harmful to the alternative body and when the alternative immune system overreacts to this exposure then the symptoms of Miss Sci-Gone occur.
Symptoms: All of the symptoms are produced as a result of the alternative body’s rejection of all things scientific. On initial exposure to science a sufferer of Miss Sci-Gone will initially feel a general state of poor health and feeling ill at ease. At this point the alternative immune system is halting the entry of the potentially damaging truth by blocking the mind-pipes. As the mind-pipes fully contract and close completely the alternative body starts to accumulate damage, clogging with data. Only self-generated inaccuracies prevail. Individuals may start making ridiculous claims about the world like “rain doesn’t fall, it’s the earth jumping to catch clouds”, “biscuits are just cakes that got a bit sad” or “only science that works should receive funding”. If the abnormality is not corrected then sufferers can enter a terminal stage of Miss Sci-Gone where they start to exhibit truly bizarre ideas. They may start to form links with Washington neo-conservatives, try to flip their second homes, steal money from children and to not even recognise or understand the concept of science. At this stage the sufferer is described as being a bit Osborney. Following this there is no hope for the unfortunate individual and their days are numbered as soon as they start to think puns about musicals are funny. It is a truly wicked illness.  Less miserable than many but still so awful that not even cats could find it amusing. Grease is the word.
Treatment: Despite the best efforts of research placebologists there is currently no cure for Miss Sci-Gone. As such if individuals have to be treated symptomatically. Obviously nothing scientific can be used or the patient’s suffering would be exacerbated. Bulk standard homeopathy with or without chiropractic manipulation are often highly successful at symptom control and many people with Miss Sci-Gone can go on to lead literally lives. This is aided if they try to avoid all forms of science, a task made difficult by its impossibility.
This Dr Alan’s Alternative Illness was “thought up” in tribute to the Science is Vital Campaign. Please go to the website, sign the petition and write to your MP. Cuts to science funding in the UK would be disastrous and Science is Vital is doing something about it. Now have at it!

Tuesday, 5 October 2010

Chapter 4: A real dead ringer for burning love: Ploughman's Apple.

An experiment is a question which science poses to Nature, and a measurement is the recording of Nature's answer.
Max Planck, Scientific Autobiography and Other Papers, 1949

As an experiment I sent some photos of my naked science poses to the journal Nature. Nature’s answer was a restraining order and a criminal record.
Allen A. Alan, Scientific Autoeroticism and Awful Papers, 2007

Illness: Ploughman’s Apple
Discovered by: Descriptions of Ploughman’s Apple go back as far as ancient Egypt. Archaeologists have discovered hieroglyphics that look very much like individuals suffering from this condition. It would certainly explain why everyone in ancient Egypt walked sideways. A different alternative illness explains the people with animal heads.  The first formal description of Ploughman’s Apple was by Professor Hubert Massakshun in the definite science section of Heat Magazine, 1999. As it turns out the patient Prof. Massakshun described turned out not to have Ploughman’s Apple but Typist’s Raspberry. However the existence of one disease necessitates the existence of the other because of logic.

Figure 1. One figure. Drawn copy of a description someone once made of an ancient Egyptian hieroglyph while drunk. According to the internet, hieroglyphs are pretty old if drawn by ancient Egyptians which proves it.
Epidemiology: Ploughman’s Apple occurs in males and females equally but is more common in males. It is even more common in females. Adults under the age of 18 (technically known as children) cannot contract this disease with exceptions when they do. It has also been observed in the animal kingdom with Ploughman’s Apple being described in sheep, beetles and fat badgers.
Aetiology: Ploughman’s apple is primarily a sexually transmitted alternative disease. Unusually for a STAD however, sexual intercourse is not required to pass on the illness. It is enough simply for an infected individual to look at another person while thinking about a special hug while a bird, a bee or a stork are in the vicinity. 10 metres is close enough. You can also catch it by sitting on a toilet seat. Any toilet seat. Even one not attached to a toilet. Kissing can pass on the disease but only if it’s a kiss on the cheek used in a greeting and the kiss isn’t really meant. France and Hollywood is riddled. While Ploughman’s Apple is passed on in a manner reminiscent of infection the infectious agent as yet is not known. However it could exist and therefore it has to be assumed it does. The most popular current theory is that it is caused by an alternative bacterium from Atlantis. Bacteria from Atlantis as well as being microscopic are so pink that they become invisible. As such they cannot be seen underneath a standard microscope. Occasionally they can be detected if a tiny divining rod is attached to microscope and an experienced placebographer (proper alternative scientists specialising in the imaging of alternative illnesses, alternative pathogens and paintings of unicorns on black velvet) can think pink enough thoughts.
Symptoms: Sufferers from this condition are often so embarrassed at having it that they are reluctant to describe the symptoms. As such, not much is known about this disease. Some descriptive terms used by the infected include, “Ooh, right in the Ploughman’s Apple”, “My genitals feel right funny and no mistake” and “No, no, no, I’m not ready for the ripping. Not the ripping! Or the screaming slaps. Or the maudlin piano! These are things which I also regret about my condition. Curse those wretched bees!” Individuals who often engage in looking at other individuals in aviaries, near net hats or butter are advised to regularly check themselves for the signs of Ploughman’s Apple described here.
Treatment: As with most disease, prevention is better than cure. Luckily there is a fairly simple way to avoid catching Ploughman’s Apple. Never think about anything ever. Lack of thought deprives the bacteria that probably definitely cause Ploughman’s Apple of a growth medium. Most treatments have side-effects but fortunately the prophylaxis for Ploughman’s Apple has positive gains in addition to those of STAD avoidance. Lack of thought has been shown by several of what came to be known as studies to promote belief in placebology. This is of course progresses to avoidance of even more alternative illnesses. Jackpot!
If you are unlucky enough to contract Ploughman’s Apple, the cure is rather more complex. One week’s course of acupuncture in the Zen Garden is required and in severe cases sufferers have required one week and one hour of this most unpleasant treatment. The Zen Garden is the most painful place to receive acupuncture for reasons. Some patients have even been known to undergo simultaneous moxibustion. Acupuncture repair kits are therefore required during therapy in case emergency intervention is required.

Wednesday, 15 September 2010

Chapter Three. In the jungle, the mighty jungle the corpse of a lion makes a sort of damp grunt: Beast Orchestra

The highest possible stage in moral culture is when we recognize that we ought to control our thoughts.
Charles Darwin, The Descent of Man, 1871.

A colleague once suggested I introduce culture into the lives of some of my more socially deprived patients. I don’t know why, they didn’t particularly enjoy being covered in yoghurt.
Allen A. Alan, The Scent of Man, 2006.

Illness: Beast Orchestra
Discovered by: Beast orchestra was first observed in existing human and rhythmic sound-producer Lady Gaga and was described by Dr Alan in The Journal of Proper Provable Alternative Illnesses So Shut Up, July 2010.
Epidemiology: Beast orchestra is only observed in individuals who watch the episode of the documentary series Inside Nature’s Giants where a lion and a tiger are dissected. Inside Nature’s Giants was a series where large animals were dissected for public education. And Richard Dawkins was there. Particularly susceptible to the effects of this television programme are those with televisions on which to watch it.
Aetiology: The disease is transmitted by air vibes to the the alternative optic nerve from the television. These air vibes take the form of wavy particles which flow from this particular documentary. Only the Inside Nature’s Giants documentary transmits these wavy particles or “warvarticles” as a result of proper scientific quantum effects. And also angels. When they reach the viewer’s optic nerve they massage the nerves inducing synaptic relaxation. Synaptic relaxation then spreads to two specific areas of the brain; The blurb of Travolta and the no sursum frenum. The blurb of Travolta is responsible for accurate recognition of dead animals and the no sursum frenum translates the sounds made by semi-popular boy band McFly into a comprehensible form of music which is less damaging to the rest of the nervous system. Synaptic relaxation in these neural structures reduces their functional capacity, producing the symptoms observed in beast orchestra.
Symptoms: Beast Orchestra manifests primarily with behavioural problems. In Inside Nature’s Giants the lion’s roar is reproduced by attaching a powerful air-pump to a lion’s trachea. The lion is dead and dissected at the time. Although admittedly if it were not this action would certainly reproduce its roar. On observing this, the individual with beast orchestra will suddenly think of doing this with all manner of animals to construct a large zoological instrument. Sufferers with mild beast orchestra will be content to merely think about this as an idea. Those with severe beast orchestra should not be allowed near zoos or even pet shops. For further information look up Frank Clayton, creator of the gerbil harmonica.
Treatment: As beast orchestra is induced through synaptic relaxation following quantum massage of the optic nerve through the medium of warvarticles it follows that the cure requires the relevant neural structures to become tense once again. This can be simply achieved by allowing the patient to watch a single episode of the BBC thought experiment My Family. Caution must be taken with the administration of My Family as more than two episodes constitutes an overdose, toxic to the brain structures responsible for the processing of comedy.

Tuesday, 7 September 2010

Chapter 2. Don't lick a man while he's down: Apathetic Shingles of the Tongue.

Equipped with his five senses, man explores the universe around him and calls the adventure Science.
Edwin Powell Hubble, The Nature of Science, 1954

Why is the film The Sixth Sense called The Sixth Sense? He’s sees dead people. That’s just using your eyes. That’s already a sense!

Allen A. Alan, The Nature of Bruce Willis, 2001

Illness: Apathetic Shingles of the Tongue.

Discovered by: Who cares?

Epidemiology: This alternative illness mainly affects women and other people such as men. The spread of apathetic shingles of the tongue is fairly even worldwide and there is no known geographical focus. It is certainly not true that the symptoms of the disease are much worse in Belgium. That would be ridiculous. There is no such place as Belgium. It is also very uncommon in children due to factors apparent from the aetiology. That sounds like science doesn’t it. Which is of course the point. That’ll be £10 please.

Aetiology: More like eat – iology! Because of mouths. Just a joke there. I’m sure you noticed. As with shingles in the actual body, which can only occur if you have had chicken pox in the past, apathetic shingles of the tongue can only occur if you have had Laissez-faire varicella of the uvula. LVU once recovered from, remains dormant in the mouth causing only slight stickiness of the teeth chakras. Is the plural of chakra, chakras or chakra? I saw that Shakira once. It wasn’t surprising. I had bought tickets to her concert. If “bought” is Latin for made my own with a combination of crayon and wishful thinking. So I didn’t really see her. So to summarise the answer to your question, yes chakras are real. If in later life the LVU becomes reactivated, it does so as apathetic shingles of the tongue.

Reactivation of LVU can occur for many reasons. Usually it is due to overexposure toxins. Toxins are everywhere. A comprehensive list of all known toxins is included in and includes the popular scientific journal The Daily Mail. It can also reactivate if the tongue becomes sad for any reason. So whatever you do, don’t get a sad tongue. Avoid it at all costs. The ways to do this are obvious.

Symptoms: Initially the individual will notice a rash. This rash will spell the name of a flavour of crisps that the sufferer’s tongue wants. Usually this decision will be ill-considered. Hence the name rash. The individual will be overcome by a desire for that flavour of crisps. When they eventually succumb to this desire and eat the crisps, their tongue will be too lazy to taste them. In fact with more crisps the tongue becomes more and more filled with ennui. Eventually after about 11 packets the tongue will be become so apathetic it falls out. Then how are you supposed to insult small children?

Treatment: Luckily the treatment is fairly simple as long as it is completed before the fifth packet of crisps is consumed. After this the condition becomes incurable and the sufferer’s tongue is destined to be on the floor. Unless they catch it as it falls out. Or a cat steals it. Or some sort of fox. The animal. Not a sexy person. Why would they want a tongue? Don’t be disgusting! The patient must simply lick their own elbow once. The tongue will be so confused that it is shocked out of its apathy and the rash instantly vanishes.

Tuesday, 31 August 2010

Chapter 1. Standing on the Shoulders of Giant Ants: About the Author

Who is Dr A. A. Alan?

Dr Allen Alun Alan is a well respected placebologist and alternative scientist. He was born in a location very close to his mother and has been getting older ever since. An unusual child he learned to walk before he learned to crawl and to run before he could walk. He was always falling over. Dr Alan was educated through the usual means of trial, error and television from the age of 5 to 18 years. His favourite subjects were science and creative writing. At the age of 18 (where we left him at the end of the last sentence) he applied to and successfully attained a place at the renowned Bridgeox University of Definite Learning. It was there he achieved his BASc Genetic Mixology. His final year project in attempting to crossbreed cats and dogs using a combination of wishing and cannon fire was later to earn him the Nobel Peace Prize. The first time any alternative scientist was to claim such a thing.

Dr Alan continued his purely academic career at Bridgeox by studying for his P-HD (ready) in Placebology under Professor Massakshun, the foremost authority on placebology at the time. Prof. Massakshun attained a certain level of fame in the past by being the first alternative scientist to demonstrate that crystals made of homeopathy could heal a person suffering from geocentrism. Dr Alan was later to surpass this by going on to show that this technique was also effective for curing perpetual motion and the effects of alien probing when combined with bovine faeces.

Dr Alan currently works in the Bridgeox Hospital of Proper Alternative Medicine and has treated over a certain number of patients. His star sign is both Capricorn and Libra. The luckiest combination.

What is Placebology?

Placebology is the study of alternative treatments for alternative illnesses that affect your alternative body. It concerns such diseases as Idealism of the Pelvis and Gopher Face. Placebology is a unique branch of medicine in which it is only concerned with diseases which affect the alternative body and as such can only be treated with alternative medicine. As such many of the treatments for alternative illnesses have to be especially made-up by practitioners of placebology or placebologists as they might like to be called.

What has this got to with actual medicine?

Absolutely nothing. Many of the words are the same as in actual medicine due to the necessity of getting people to understand what is being described to them. In fact the alternative anatomy of the alternative body uses most of the same terms as the anatomy of the actual body. This is thought to be coincidental by many placebologists. However an unfortunate side effect of this convergence is that placebology is often confused with actual medicine and indeed the non-proper alternative medicines such as homeopathy that are often described in certain newspapers. Luckily the proper alternative medicines have almost no affect on actual illnesses and only affect the alternative illnesses described in this guide. The difference between proper and non-proper alternative medicine is a complex one cannot be adequately described with words. In fact anybody who attempts to do so will not demonstrate anything of any meaning. Luckily most placebologists are not concerned with meaning. Hopefully this clears things up.

Do I have an alternative body?

Of course you do. Everybody does. Except for Richard Dawkins. Dawkins’ drowned following a tragic boating accident involving a boat and some water. The terrible consequences of a lack of alternative body will be discussed later in this guide. The alternative body is connected to the actual body via the Cartesian Tendon. A difficult to detect attachment which presumably evolved due to the environmental pressure of Creationism. Its main purpose as stated is to maintain the connection between the alternative and the actual body and to ensure the alternative body maintains a sense of vagueness. Maybe.

But what if my alternative body develops an alternative illness?

Then you should go and see your local Placebologist immediately. Sadly placebology is an expensive business and you will probably be required to pay a substantial fee. This is worth it however when the treatment is a success and you feel exactly like you did before you had the treatment, except a bit happier.

Is any of this advisable?

Probably not. But are you prepared to take that risk?