‘Danger!’ apologizes for an “outdated and inaccurate” reference to debilitating health


By David Williams, CNN

Popular TV game show “Jeopardy!” Apologizes for using “outdated and inaccurate” information to obtain an indication of a medical condition affecting millions of Americans.

Participants on Monday’s show were asked about postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (POTS) – a little-known disorder that affects blood flow and causes rapid heartbeat, lightheadedness, and fainting when standing up.

“Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome is also known as Grinch’s Syndrome because this organ is too small,” asked the $ 600 clue in the Plain-Named Maladies category.

The answer they were looking for was “What is the heart?” based on a 2010 paper that suggested the nickname “Grinch Syndrome” because the results stated that the hearts of POTS patients were too small.

But many POTS sufferers argued on social media that the name was offensive because it linked them to the notoriously not-nice Grinch from Dr. Seuss’ “How the Grinch Stole Christmas”. It’s also inaccurate because the condition is related to the autonomic nervous system, which regulates the body’s involuntary functions such as heart rate, breathing, and sweating.

“That was published by Jeopardy this evening. Grinch syndrome is an offensive term. Can you imagine Jeopardy taking cancer or MS patients lightly with a “strange” name for their debilitating health? Unacceptable. We’d love to see real questions about the autonomic nervous system. ” said a tweet from Dysautonomia International, a nonprofit that raises money for research and raises awareness of POTS and other autonomic nervous system disorders.

“Danger!” posted to Sorry on Tuesday from his official Twitter account.

“Yesterday’s program included an indication of Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS). After hearing from the community we realized we were using an outdated and inaccurate term for this disorder and we apologize for it, ”the show tweeted.

Dysautonomia International President and Co-Founder Lauren Stiles told CNN that she was glad that “Jeopardy!” took the concerns seriously.

“You know, everyone relies on Jeopardy to make things correct and correct and not really outdated stuff,” said Stiles. “We appreciate this danger! listened to our patient community and apologized because it was the right thing to do. “

According to Dysautonomia International, about one to three million people in the United States are believed to have POTS, and the majority of patients are women between the ages of 13 and 50.

The condition affects the body’s systems to maintain blood flow to the brain when a person stands up from a lying position.

“When a healthy person stands up, gravity naturally pulls your blood to your legs, but the veins in your legs will constrict to push the blood back to your heart and brain,” said Stiles. “This mechanism doesn’t work properly in POTS patients, so their heart beats much faster to try to keep the blood circulating.”

POTS can also cause a variety of symptoms, including blurred vision, headaches, poor concentration, fatigue, gastrointestinal symptoms, shortness of breath, weakness, sleep disorders, movement disorders, and anxiety, according to information from the National Institutes of Health’s Genetic and Rare Disease Information Center.

Doctors aren’t sure what causes POTS, but it often starts after pregnancy, major surgery, trauma, or a viral illness, the NIH said.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said the condition has also been reported in patients suffering from post-Covid disease.

Stiles said the disease was not as well known as Parkinson’s disease and multiple sclerosis, each of which affects around a million Americans, because it hasn’t been talked about for so long.

The wide range of symptoms makes POTS difficult to diagnose, and Stiles said it took an average of four years to diagnose patients.

“We as an organization work with the best experts in the field, the doctors who do this, to train other healthcare professionals to reduce these diagnostic delays and improve care when people are diagnosed,” said Stiles.

She called the “Jeopardy!” Notice “an unfortunate mistake” but also said it was a blessing in adversity as media attention brings more people accurate information about POTS.

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