Lumos Labs, the company behind the Lumosity online cognitive training program, has agreed to settle Federal Trade Commission charges alleging that they deceived consumers with unsubstantiated claims that their games—designed to target and train specific areas of the brain—can help users reduce or delay cognitive impairment associated with age and other serious health conditions.

Under the settlement, Lumos Labs will pay $2 million to the FTC and will notify subscribers who signed up for an auto-renewal plan between Jan. 1, 2009, and Dec. 31, 2014, about the commission’s action and provide a means to cancel their subscription.

Among the FTC’s allegations against the company were their unfounded claims that training with Lumosity would delay age-related cognitive decline and protect against mild cognitive impairment, dementia, and Alzheimer’s disease, as well as reduce cognitive impairment associated with health conditions including stroke, traumatic brain injury, PTSD, ADHD, the side effects of chemotherapy, and Turner syndrome—all benefits that were purportedly proven by scientific studies.

“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.”

Nonetheless, in a company statement, Lumos Labs argued that “neither the action nor the settlement pertains to the rigor of our research or the quality of the products” but is a “reflection of marketing language that has been discontinued.”

Lumos Labs said that it remains “committed to moving the science of cognitive training forward and contributing meaningfully to the field’s community and body of research” and that the settlement with the FTC “will allow the company to move on and continue delivering its research-based cognitive training platform to millions of active and future users.”

 

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