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‘Jeopardy!’ Apologizes for ‘Outdated’ Medical Disorder Clue Amid Backlash

The game show featured a clue about postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome, or POTS

“Jeopardy!” has apologized for a clue that used an “outdated and inaccurate term” that had many viewers calling the long-running quiz show “insensitive” and “misogynistic.”

In an episode that aired on Monday, one clue read, “Postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome is also known as Grinch syndrome because this organ is too small,” to which the correct answer was “What is the heart?” On Tuesday, the show’s Twitter account posted an apology that read, “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 After hearing from the community, we found we used an outdated and inaccurate term for this disorder, and we apologize.”

“Grinch syndrome,” referring the famous curmudgeon-y Dr. Seuss character with a heart two sizes too small, is considered not just insensitive to those that suffer from the disease but straight-up inaccurate. According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome is defined by a “rapid increase in heart beat” caused by an excessively reduced volume of blood returns to the heart after an individual stands up from a lying down position.” In most cases, the condition has nothing to do with the structure of the heart.

The majority of POTS patients are women, with many developing the disorder “after a pregnancy, major surgery, trauma, or a viral illness,” according to NINDS, which some critics feel adds a layer of misogyny to the term.

Many Twitter users aired their grievances with the trivia show on Monday, including Dysautonomia International, a nonprofit that serves individuals living with autonomic nervous system disorders and actress Mara Wilson, who has been vocal about her experience of living with dysautonomia.


Following the apology, Dysautonomia International thanked “Jeopardy!” for doing the right thing.