Some Jeopardy fans are annoyed after the quiz show used an inaccurate medical answer as one of its clues. The clue came during an episode led by guest host Savannah Guthrie and in the category "Plain-Named Maldies." The clue read, “Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome is also known as Grinch Syndrome because this organ is too small.” The correct response was, "What is the heart?" But the idea that Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome, or POTS, is connected to smaller hearts has been disproven. Regardless, referring to the condition as "grinch syndrome" is something several people living with POTS found offensive.
POTS is, according to myheart.net, a relatively new disease without firm guidelines on how to define it or differentiate it from other heart conditions. The website defines POTS as "a form of dysautonomia that affects the flow of blood through the body, thereby causing dizziness when standing. Technically, someone has POTS if their heart rate increases by 30 beats per minute or their heart rate is greater than 120 beats per minute within 10 minutes of standing up." POTS received some new attention as COVID-19 patients seem more likely to be diagnosed with the condition.
Hey @Jeopardy no one with any credibility calls POTS "Grinch Syndrome." Promoting outdated misogynistic terms to describe a debilitating autonomic nervous system disorder that impacts millions of Americans is not cool.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.— Dysautonomia Intl. (@Dysautonomia) June 22, 2021
Dysautonomia International, a non-profit group that raises funds for POTS research and spreads awareness of the disease, took to social media to challenge Jeopardy on its inaccurate and offensive clue. "Hey Jeopardy, no one with any credibility calls POTS 'Grinch Syndrome,'" the group tweeted. "Promoting outdated misogynistic terms to describe a debilitating autonomic nervous system disorder that impacts millions of Americans is not cool.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."
"This appeared on Jeopardy tonight," the group continued, sharing an image of the clue from the episode. "Grinch syndrome is an offensive term. 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."
Others chimed in. Retweeting Dysautonomia International, one person who has POTS stated, "Oh Jeopardy, this is shameful. I have POTs and am sad you would resort to this. How low. And I might add, incredibly incorrect. Would you seriously tell a kid he has a condition that makes him Grinch?! I just...can't believe this.
"There is no evidence that heart size it correlated to POTs. I cannot believe Alex Trebek would have let this through. Apologize - on air - and do better with your research."
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