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Jeopardy! Apologizes for 'Outdated, Inaccurate' Clue About POTS Disorder

·2 min read

Jeopardy! has acknowledged an inaccurate as well as dismissive clue/answer combo that was presented to players on Monday night’s telecast.

The clue read: “Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome is also known as Grinch Syndrome because this organ is too small.” The response/question that was ruled as correct was: “What is the heart?” — though many in the medical community or otherwise familiar with the condition were quick to point out the inaccuracy of the “small heart” answer, as well as take issue with the “Grinch Syndrome” nickname.

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In a statement shared on Twitter, the show said, “[Monday’s] program included a clue about postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (POTS). After hearing from the community, we found we used an outdated and inaccurate term for this disorder, and we apologize.”

In the wake of the telecast, many hit social media to contend that POTS does not change the size of the heart. (As one person put it, “I was diagnosed with POTS after contracting #COVID19… and I guarantee you that my heart didn’t suddenly shrink two sizes. Dysautonomia is brutal, life limiting & sorely misunderstood. Shameful. Disability is no laughing matter.”)

As for the “Grinch Syndrome” reference, it apparently dates back to a singular research paper from 2010 — and the nickname was quite unfamiliar to many on Twitter who treat or have the condition.

“In 2010, one paper came out calling to rename #POTS as the Grinch syndrome because of the findings of their small study: the arrogance of the authors is now resurrected by the question on @Jeopardy,” tweeted Dr. Svetlana Blishteyn, a founder of the Dysautonomia Clinic. “Nobody should call POTS the Grinch syndrome; the question & answer are wrong!”

“Grinch syndrome is an offensive term,” Dysautonomia International, a non-profit that raises funds for research and promotes awareness of disorders of the autonomic nervous system, observed on Twitter. “Can you imagine Jeopardy making light of cancer or MS patients with a ‘funny’ name for their debilitating health condition? Not acceptable. We’d love to see real questions about the autonomic nervous system.”

“Hey @Jeopardy no one with any credibility calls POTS ‘Grinch Syndrome,'” Dysautonomia International reiterated. “Promoting outdated misogynistic terms to describe a debilitating autonomic nervous system disorder that impacts millions of Americans is not cool. We request an apology on behalf of our community. Do better.”

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