Brain training app Lumosity has been fined £1.3million for making unsubstantiated claims about the effects it had on brain activity, memory and congnition, by the US government.
As well as paying the fine, Lumosity will have to inform users who were paying £10 a month for the service.
The Federal Trade Commission, who issued the fine, said “Lumosity preyed on consumers’ fears about age-related cognitive decline, suggesting their games could stave off memory loss, dementia, and even Alzheimer’s disease.”
The app provided users with more than 50 games, and Lumosity claimed that just 10 to 15 minutes of use a day could help users increase their cognitive function, perform better at school and even help slow the onset of dementia or other cognitive impairments.
The Federal Trade Commission, however, found that these claims were not verifiable and had not been backed up by scientific evidence. User testimonials were also found to have been written by users attempting to win prizes such as iPads and holidays.
A team at the University of Liverpool found that many mental health apps and online programmes lack “an underlying evidence base, a lack of scientific credibility and limited clinical effectiveness”.