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To the Editor:
—In my opinion "hypsarrhythmia" must be correct. In words beginning with rh, eg, rheumatic, h is the English representation of the Greek rough breathing, c placed over the r, thus: p. In Greek, when rh is preceded by a prefix—dia-, haemo-, etc.—r is duplicated (rr) and the rough breathing is omitted from the written word though retained in the spoken word. In English and other Western languages, -rrh- has been conventionally adopted as a phonetic representation of the Greek, eg, diarrhoea. In short, the rule is rh at the beginning of a word and rrh after all prefixes.Although this is no more than a convention, the important thing is that writers should be consistent.[Notwithstanding the fact that it may cause a high arrhythmia, we have decided to "go in for" hypsarrhythmia. Finally, for what happened to the missing "r," see "Sicca (Sjörgren's) [sic]
Roberts F. G-rrrrrrrrrrrr. JAMA. 1963;183(9):808. doi:10.1001/jama.1963.03700090128037