Luminosity is busted by FTC- must refund millions due to praying on fears about cognitive decline

There have been many articles in the popular press about the alleged benefits of “brain training” apps and programs, and some mental health media have gotten on the brain training bandwagon.  One of the brain training companies, Luminosity, has a major advertising presence. Many neurologists and neuropsychologists have been highly skeptical of Luminosity’s claims, which include being able to slow age-related cognitive decline with regular use of the Luminosity program (which costs $15 per month).

On January 6, 2016, the Canadian Broadcasting News published an online article which reported that Luminosity has been busted by the US Federal Trade Commission for making unsubstantiated claims for the benefits of using the Luminosity program.  The FTC has required Luminosity to refund $2 million to US customers.  The article concludes, “While studies have shown that gaming participants can improve their performance on simple tasks, the experts concluded there is no compelling evidence that games “reduce or reverse cognitive decline.”

This information may be helpful when discussing concerns about age-related cognitive decline with clients/patients, and helping them understand the limits of the benefits of playing games and using online apps.  It would be more helpful for them to use “treatments” with strong research support, such as moderate exercise, getting enough sleep, following a heathy diet and enjoying an active and stimulating social life.

This article came to our attention courtesy of the prolific psychology posting service provided by Ken Pope, Ph.D.

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