'Jeopardy!' issues apology for 'outdated' medical clue

The popular quiz show “Jeopardy!” has apologized on Twitter after the show used a clue to describe a medical condition that was criticized as being “outdated” and “inaccurate.”

Guest host Savannah Guthrie read aloud a clue on Monday’s episode, saying, “Postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome [POTS] is also known as Grinch syndrome because this organ is too small.” 

The clue referred to the heart, but it immediately drew criticism from viewers and organizations.

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“No one on my medical team for my POTS calls it Grinch syndrome. In part because they know it's a disorder of my autonomic nervous system. Btw, echocardiograms show my heart is normal size,” tweeted one viewer.

“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 Promoting outdated misogynistic terms to describe a debilitating autonomic nervous system disorder that impacts millions of Americans is not cool.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,” tweeted Dysautonomia International, a nonprofit that promotes awareness and helps raise money to fund research for autonomic nervous system disorders. 

According to the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences, POTS is "a condition characterized by too little blood returning to the heart when moving from a lying down to a standing up position." Patients often experience fainting or lightheadedness in addition to an accelerated increase in a patient's heart rate.

John Hopkins Medicine notes that for most patients who have POTS, “the structure of the heart itself is normal.” Dysautonomia International estimates that POTS affects between 1 and 3 million Americans. 

Jeopardy! issued an apology the following day.

“Yesterday’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 After hearing from the community, we found we used an outdated and inaccurate term for this disorder, and we apologize,” the show tweeted.

The nonprofit responded to the game show on Twitter saying it had accepted Jeopardy!’s apology.