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“Brain training” with Lumosity — does it really work?

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Imagine if you could improve your memory, attention, and problem solving skills in all aspects of your life — just by playing some simple “brain training” games online or on an app. Games that could help prevent age-related memory decline, including dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. Games that could help you at work, school, or with everyday tasks — like remembering where you left your keys, or quickly recalling the name of a person you just met.

That’s just what Lumosity claimed its games could do, based on “proven neuroscience research.” But the FTC charged that there isn’t solid science showing that Lumosity’s “brain training” games work the way they say they would. 

You’ve likely seen Lumosity’s ads on TV, online, or heard them on the radio. They sound convincing — like this one:

“I can tell a big difference. Decisions come quicker. I’m more productive. It’s serious brain training, it just feels like games…”  

Or this testimonial:

“…we learned that my mother had early onset Alzheimer’s. I joined Lumosity at first for my mother. I now use this site not only for her, but for my brain as well.”

Let’s set the record straight. Playing Lumosity’s games might make you better at those games, the FTC says, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it will sharpen your memory or brain power in the real-world. And those testimonials from satisfied customers? Many were from people who were offered prizes to say good things about Lumosity, and that wasn’t made clear. According to the FTC, that’s deceptive.

If you signed up for Lumosity before January 1, 2015 and are on an auto-renewal plan, watch for a notice from Lumosity that gives you a one-click option to cancel your subscription. Under a recent settlement with the FTC, Lumosity agreed to provide these notices, and promised not to make false claims or use testimonials in a deceptive way.

If you remember nothing else, remember this: You can be skeptical of any app, product, or service that says it can improve your memory or brain power quickly and easily. Especially if it claims dramatic results for a variety of health issues. Check out other helpful articles on health and fitness.

This article by the FTC was distributed by the Personal Finance Syndication Network.

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