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January 1961

Hypoparathyroidism, Pseudohypoparathyroidism, and Pseudo-Pseudohypoparathyroidism

Arch Ophthalmol. 1961;65(1):1. doi:10.1001/archopht.1961.01840020003001

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Some linguists will see in this array of names the prime abuse of medical terminology. Pseudo is in itself, they may claim, a sufficient transgression, but the double prefix is, they are certain to note, a deliberate attempt to beguile the innocent practitioner—including the ophthalmologist, for he, too, is entrenched in this business of parathyroid dysfunction.

Yet, the devil is not without his advocate, and good reasons can be marshalled in favor of this seeming confusion of terms. Hypoparathyroidism is the condition in which low serum calcium and high serum phosphorus, tetany, cataracts, and metastatic calcification result from deficiency for parathyroid function. Curiously, no objection is raised to the terms hypoparathyroidism or hyperparathyroidism, although parathyroidism is not to be found in any of the dictionaries. Pseudohypoparathyroidism has the same complex of symptoms, including cataracts, but includes, in addition, a characteristic round face, short stature, a dyschondroplasia of the metatarsal and

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