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Lumos Labs, the company behind the Lumosity app that promises to "challenge your brain" using a daily training program of cognitive games, will pay out $2 million to settle deceptive advertising charges brought against it by the United States Federal Trade Commission.

According to the FTC, Lumos Labs deceived consumers by telling them the games in Lumosity would help them perform better at work, get better scores on standardized tests, and stave off the decline of cognitive impairment related to age or disease. It also claimed its games could help with conditions like dementia and Alzheimer's disease, as well as improving cognitive impairment associated with conditions like stroke, traumatic brain injury, PTSD, ADHD, chemotherapy, and more.

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"Lumosity preyed on consumers' fears about age-related cognitive decline, suggesting their games could stave off memory loss, dementia, and even Alzheimer's disease," said Jessica Rich, Director of the FTC's Bureau of Consumer Protection. "But Lumosity simply did not have the science to back up its ads."
Available in the iOS App Store, Lumosity offers a selection of more than 50 cognitive games it claims were developed by scientists and game designers to train the brain. While a basic membership to access a limited number of games is free, a membership costs from $6.70 to $11.95 per month or up to $299.95 for a lifetime pass.

Lumosity TV, Internet, radio, and social media advertisements suggested customers could play the games for 10 to 15 minutes three or four times per week to achieve "full potential in every aspect of life," and falsely claimed its health related benefits were backed by scientific studies.

Lumos Labs is facing a $50 million judgement, but the FTC has agreed to suspend the full amount due to Lumos Labs' financial position. Instead, the company will pay $2 million and will agree not to make future health and performance claims without "competent and reliable scientific evidence." Lumos Labs is also ordered to notify subscribers about the FTC action and provide them with a way to cancel their subscriptions.

Lumosity is just one of many "brain training" apps available in the App Store. Elevate, another highly popular brain training app that's been highlighted by Apple, claims its app will help improve "critical cognitive skills" to "boost productivity," but it shies away from making the deceptive health-related claims that got Lumosity in hot water.

Article Link: Brain Training App 'Lumosity' to Pay $2 Million to Settle Deceptive Advertising Charges
 

0815

macrumors 68000
Jul 9, 2010
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here and there but not over there
good - I did a free trial once (one month), but that trial only confirmed my suspicion that this app (or better its advertisement) is BS. Games are fun at first, but get boring fast and I don't see how they would improve anything like they claim.

Just another example how companies make money by playing with the fears of people (and lying to people).

They might have some success if they would advertise it as what it is: a time killing game collection .... (better than flappy bird)
 
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BMcCoy

macrumors 68000
Jun 24, 2010
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It's a controversial area, and a difficult one to scientifically study.. with confounders of placebo effect and confirmation bias.
There are studies suggesting these apps are beneficial in certain circumstances, but even those studies have been subject to critical analysis.
Certainly it is too early to make big claims, especially about preventing disease like dementia.
 
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Piggie

macrumors G3
Feb 23, 2010
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Are companies allowed to sell Homeopathy medicine in the US ?
 
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Waxhead138

macrumors 6502
May 18, 2012
440
510
"full potential in every aspect of life,"

Phrases like the above (when used in advertising any product) are about as reputable as the Nigerian Prince who just needs my bank account number to store a portion of his vast wealth until he completes his journey.
[doublepost=1452017718,1452017608][/doublepost]
Are companies allowed to sell Homeopathy medicine in the US ?
I think so....but I don't think they can exactly sell it as medicine, or at the very least somewhere on the label it has to show the "not endorsed by the FDA" or something to that effect. It can still be misleading to say the least.
 
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0815

macrumors 68000
Jul 9, 2010
1,766
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here and there but not over there
Are companies allowed to sell Homeopathy medicine in the US ?

Yes - and some medical insurances (very few) even pay for homeopathic treatments. Of course the insurance through my current employer does not (previous insurance did - but the medical insurance I have for my dog does, but only for the dog :) )
 
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windywalks

macrumors 6502
Mar 12, 2004
497
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The sole price of the app's subscription is enough to deter me - I just don't think it's worth it.
The fact, that it made laughable claims about it's efficaciousness just proves me right for not even trying it.

Games definitely stimulate your brain in areas you don't necessarily use in day-to-day life, but giving people the false hope, that playing them will unlock abilities they don't necessarily poses in the first place is just wrong.
I remember playing a Wii game at my friends place, that said you only use 10% of your brain. It all sounded like hogwash even without studies.

You might as well spend those 300 bucks on a relaxing weekend trip, it will definitely help you're productivity.
 
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windywalks

macrumors 6502
Mar 12, 2004
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Yes - and some medical insurances (very few) even pay for homeopathic treatments. Of course the insurance through my current employer does not (previous insurance did - but the medical insurance I have for my dog does, but only for the dog :) )

You just made me chuckle a bit there :D
 
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teslo

macrumors 6502a
Jun 9, 2014
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why drag Elevate into this? claiming that 'solving puzzles improves brain function' is fair game and implies nothing extraordinary, like Luminosity attempted - their app summary brags about being scientifically engineered.. unless there are nefarious Elevate ads or marketing materials that are flying under the radar, leave them out of it.
 
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4jasontv

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Jul 31, 2011
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good - I did a free trial once (one month), but that trial only confirmed my suspicion that this app (or better its advertisement) is BS. Games are fun at first, but get boring fast and I don't see how they would improve anything like they claim.

You are probably correct, but I think the games health benefits (if they exist) would depend upon your ability to endure the repetitiveness and improve your score day over day. After all, if you are able to recall longer and longer sequences then chances are your memory isn't degrading.
 
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slester

macrumors member
Apr 23, 2010
48
11
They should have to pay everyone who has ever had to sit through one of their incredibly lame television commercials. They used to make me shudder and want to throw something at my television.
 
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4jasontv

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Jul 31, 2011
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I remember playing a Wii game at my friends place, that said you only use 10% of your brain. It all sounded like hogwash even without studies.

So I saw similar statements at University, however it was in the context of a moment. As in, you are not recalling the smell of cheeseburgers or new car when you start to cut down a tree, unless you actively pursue those thoughts.
 
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freepomme

Suspended
Oct 30, 2015
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Boston, MA
Then why did you buy it if you knew it was fake?
I didn't buy it. I knew was fake, that's why I didn't buy it. But I want the compensation for downloading it.
[doublepost=1452019566,1452019520][/doublepost]Everyone who played this wasted their time and we deserve money for the wasted time.
 
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Rafagon

macrumors 6502
Jun 19, 2011
322
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Miami, FL
Lumos Labs is facing a $50 million judgement, but the FTC has agreed to suspend the full amount due to Lumos Labs' financial position. Instead, the company will pay $2 million and will agree not to make future health and performance claims without "competent and reliable scientific evidence." Lumos Labs is also ordered to notify subscribers about the FTC action and provide them with a way to cancel their subscriptions.
From $50M down to $2M! Awfully generous, if you ask me.
 
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Analog Kid

macrumors 603
Mar 4, 2003
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why drag Elevate into this? claiming that 'solving puzzles improves brain function' is fair game and implies nothing extraordinary, like Luminosity attempted - their app summary brags about being scientifically engineered.. unless there are nefarious Elevate ads or marketing materials that are flying under the radar, leave them out of it.
The article says what you just said-- they were dragged in to differentiate them from Lumosity.
 
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UnusedLoginID

macrumors regular
Feb 28, 2012
230
220
I can't believe they have a Director of Clinical trials and they published this false advertising. They did not even hire a good attorney for that matter. This is 2016, Lumos, not the sixties !
 
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Analog Kid

macrumors 603
Mar 4, 2003
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So I saw similar statements at University, however it was in the context of a moment. As in, you are not recalling the smell of cheeseburgers or new car when you start to cut down a tree, unless you actively pursue those thoughts.
That makes much more sense... It would just be evolutionarily dumb to make an organism support an enormous organ that is 90% inert all the time.

Of course it's also possible that we've obsoleted large parts of our brains-- like the parts that are critical to face to face communication and long term policy planning...
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If you want something that will train your brain...Learn Powershell. LOL
Or Haskell...

I suspect tasks like that are much better at forming new connections in your brain, though I suspect their effect against the debilitating affects of aging are still limited...

(what I need is a brain training game that improves my ability to correctly use effect and affect...)
 
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Kettil

macrumors member
May 31, 2011
41
46
Hope makes people do stupid things.
Yes, but mistakes also leads to great discoveries. Sure, hope can exploited, but it is an amazing quality. Without it, I'm pretty sure we would not be around now.
 
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weatherwax

macrumors member
Jan 1, 2016
36
12
Baltimore, MD
Yeesh. Hope this is the start of a push for more honesty in advertising. Didn't I hear something about Canada having such a law?
 
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