Jeopardy! just experienced a teachable moment.
On Monday’s show, one of the clues in the “Plain-named Maladies” category, was: “Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome is also known as Grinch Syndrome because this organ is too small.” (The answer ruled correct was “What is the heart?”)
Many people who have knowledge of Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome immediately voiced their dissatisfaction with the outdated, offensive and inaccurate clue.
Dysautonomia International, a non-profit organization that raises funds and promotes awareness of disorders of the autonomic nervous system, replied in a Tweet, “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.”
According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, Postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (POTS) is a blood circulation disorder. It involves specific symptoms that transpire when a person stands upright. It causes the heart rate to increase from horizontal to standing.
“POTS is an autonomic nervous system disorder that impacts an estimated one to three million Americans. When the autonomic nerves aren’t working properly, this can cause symptoms like lightheadedness, brain fog, fainting, an abnormally fast heart rate when standing up, gastrointestinal problems, and more,” explains Lauren Stiles, president and co-founder of Dysautonomia International. “About 85% of POTS patients are female and the most common age of onset is age 14. Although adults can develop it too. There are no FDA approved treatments for POTS, so patients struggle to find effective treatments.”
In fact, POTS is just as common as multiple sclerosis and Parkinson’s and just as debilitating as COPD and congestive heart failure, but most people have never heard of it. “We’re working to change that by funding research, physician education and patient support programs,” added Stiles. “If you meet someone who has frequent light-headness and an abnormally fast heart rate when they stand up, encourage them to talk their doctor about POTS and visit CurePOTS.org for more information.”
Today, Jeopardy! took the feedback to heart and apologized for the clueless clue. “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 After hearing from the community, we found we used an outdated and inaccurate term for this disorder, and we apologize,” they wrote on Twitter.
Dysautonomia International responded accepting the apology and even posted a video to help people better understand POTS. As Stiles explains, they have no hard feelings toward the show. “We’re glad Jeopardy! was willing to listen to our patient community. We’ve all learned something by watching Jeopardy for years, and this time Jeopardy! learned something from its audience. We love Jeopardy!. Who doesn’t?,” shared Stiles.
“We just want to make sure our patient community is represented accurately in the media. We would LOVE to do a follow up story with current Jeopardy! host Savannah Guthrie on the Today show about POTS,” added Stiles. “It’s very timely because there are a lot of people being diagnosed with POTS after having COVID-19. Many “long-hauler” COVID patients are developing a post-viral form of POTS, and we are working with the top researchers to study this.”
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.
— Jeopardy! (@Jeopardy) June 22, 2021
Thank you @Jeopardy. We accept your apology and appreciate that you were willing to listen to our patient community. We’d love to see some autonomic nervous system clues in the future! We encourage everyone to learn about POTS by watching this brief video: https://t.co/BYH9JsedgZ
— Dysautonomia Intl. (@Dysautonomia) June 22, 2021