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FTC Accuses Luminosity of Bogus Advertising
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Summary: The FTC has ruled Luminosity must pay $2 million for its unsubstantiated brain improvement claims.

Is it time to cancel your Luminosity subscription? That depends on if you’re doing it to stave off Alzheimer’s or to sharpen your mind. According to the Federal Trade Commission, the well-known brain game website’s claims of mental improvement are bogus.

Luminosity has been ordered to pay $2 million for its false claims, says The Washington Post. Its slogan, “Based on the science of neuroplasticity, Lumosity challenges your brain with a program of 35+ fun training games,” amongst other advertising promises is misleading.


Many of you have probably seen the company’s ads on channels such as CNN, NPR, and Fox News. The company’s message was that it could seemingly cure our mental deficiencies with practice, but the FTC says that claim has no science to back up the ads.

“Lumosity preyed on consumers’ fears about age-related cognitive decline, suggesting their games could stave off memory loss, dementia, and even Alzheimer’s disease,” Jessica Rich, the Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection, said.

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Luminosity was created by Lumos Labs, and the website charges customers a monthly or yearly subscription fee to use its services. The FTC said that Luminosity not only did not have research that its games improved mental ability, but it also used testimonials that were solicited from contests where contestants won prizes such as IPads. The FTC said Luminosity did not disclose this information about the testimonials.

Lumos Labs responded in a statement that the lawsuit reflected poor marketing language and not the quality of its products. Lumos Labs stated that a peer-reviewed published study found that participants who used Luminosity for 15 minutes a day for five days saw brain improvements compared to those who only did crosswords.

“Our focus as a company has not and will not change: We remain committed to moving the science of cognitive training forward and contributing meaningfully to the field’s community and body of research,” Lumos Labs said in a statement.

As part of the settlement, Luminosity must tell their subscribers about the FTC ruling and offer subscription cancellations.

The FTC has cracked down on similar apps that have made health-related, unsubstantiated claims. For instance, in February they fined two apps, Mole Detective and Mel App, that said they could spot cancerous moles; and in September, they fined Ultimeyes, a company that said it could improve one’s vision.




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