Posted 6 June 2016
During the past two years, three marketers of questionable “brain training” programs have settled USA Federal Trade Commission (FTC) charges by agreeing to discontinue various claims.
- The developers and marketers of LearningRx “brain training” agreed to stop claiming that their programs were clinically proven to permanently improve serious health conditions like ADHD, autism, dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, strokes, and concussions and that the training substantially improved school grades, college admission test scores, career earnings, and job and athletic performance. They also claimed that their program was 10 times more cost-effective than tutoring.
[Marketers of one-on-one ‘brain training’ programs settle FTC charges that claims about ability to treat severe cognitive impairments are unsupported. FTC press release, May 18, 2016]
- Earlier this year, marketers of the Lumosity program settled charges that they deceived consumers with unfounded claims that their games can help users perform better at work and in school, and reduce or delay cognitive impairment associated with age and other serious health conditions. As part of the settlement, Lumos Labs, agreed to pay $2 million in redress, notify subscribers of the FTC action, and provide an easy way to cancel their auto-renewal to avoid future billing.
[Lumosity to pay $2 million to settle FTC deceptive advertising charges for its “brain training” program. FTC news release, Jan 5, 2016]
- Last year, Focus Education and its officers agreed to stop making unsubstantiated claims that their computer game, Jungle Rangers, permanently improves children’s focus, memory, attention, behavior, and school performance, including for children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
[Makers of Jungle Rangers computer game for kids settle FTC charges that they deceived consumers with baseless “brain training” claims. FTC news release, Jan 20, 2015]
Last year, the FTC also settled charges against the marketers of Procera AVH, a dietary a supplement claimed to have been clinically proven to improve memory, mood, and other cognitive functions.
[Supplement marketers will relinquish $1.4 million to settle FTC deceptive advertising charges: Ads claimed Procera AVH would restore 10 to 15 years of memory loss. FTC news release, July 8, 2015]
Source: Consumer Health Digest #16-20, May 29, 2016