The agreement, announced Tuesday by the Federal Trade Commission, marks the highest profile — and most costly — crackdown so far on a burgeoning industry that’s increasingly come under fire from scientists and regulators in recent months.
Regulators accused San Francisco-based Lumos Labs of making unfounded claims about what its games could do to delay the symptoms of and protect against conditions like dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, and to reduce cognitive impairment from stroke and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.
The company built up a dedicated following of 70 million users by marketing Lumosity products directly to consumers for $15 per month, or $300 for a lifetime membership.
“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.”...
The FTC, meanwhile, has been looking more closely at online health products. Last year, the FTC hashed out small settlements, involving modest payments or none at all, with the marketers of two apps that claimed to detect melanoma, an app that purported to improve vision, and a brain-training computer game for children with ADHD and other learning impairments.
FTC spokesman Mitchell Katz wouldn’t comment on any ongoing cases related to brain-training or health apps, but said it’s an area of interest for the agency.
Courtesy of Doximity