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September 27, 1965


JAMA. 1965;193(13):1118. doi:10.1001/jama.1965.03090130046015

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You can well imagine what delicate emotions ripple through our editorial soul when we reflect on the disease entity, "pseudo-pseudohypoparathyroidism." The original discovery of hypoparathyroidism was a matter of great medical importance. Then the identification of pseudohypoparathyroidism showed keen discrimination and great intellectual acuity. And the further discovery of pseudo-pseudohypoparathyroidism, in addition to its medical significance, may initiate a trend of incalculable importance. To be sure, the syndrome also bears the name "cerebro-metacarpo-metatarsal dystrophy," but who will bother with such a cumbersome label when a simpler alternative is available?

"Pseudo-" indicates something false, deceptive, counterfeit, spurious—in other words, not "real," At first glance we might think that "pseudo-" meant "not," so that "pseudo-pseudo-" would present a double negative, and pseudo-pseudohypoparathyroidism might be no more than the original hypoparathyroidism. However, "pseudo-" does not stand for a simple negative. It indicates, rather, a considerable resemblance, enough to mislead the unwary, but with

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