FTC Takes Action on Brain Training

There are quite a few brain-training programs around, and it can take an expert to figure out which ones actually work. Unfortunately, too many programs have little or no science backing up their claims to improve brain function. BrainHQ is different: people with deep knowledge of the brain designed our exercises, and a wealth of research shows they work.

I’m mentioning this in light of a news story you may have seen this week. On Tuesday January 5, 2016, the Federal Trade Commission fined Lumos Labs (maker of Lumosity brain training) $50 million for deceptive advertising claims. As they put it, “Lumosity simply did not have the science to back up its ads.” You can learn more here.

It’s good that the FTC is reminding everyone that the “rules of the road” apply to the field of brain training: companies have to be able to back up what they say with scientific proof.

We have been following those rules from the start, because we have always believed that good science matters more than advertising. As a result, BrainHQ is unique among brain-training programs. It offers exercises and assessments that have been directly tested and shown to be beneficial in dozens of rigorous, peer-reviewed studies. In fact, BrainHQ contains the only exercises found to have benefits that generalize to improve standard measures of cognition (such as memory and processing speed), as well as measures of real-world activities and quality of life (such as safe driving, hearing in noisy places, and better mood).

You can read all about this research on the science section of our website. We stand behind every study, as do the independent academic scientists who conducted them.

I take no joy in this recent news. I’d rather be doing our work in world where every company involved in brain training had high-quality clinical trial data, and people were picking between programs based on the differences in what they were proven to do. I hope that this FTC action causes more companies to follow our lead at Posit, and do their science before launching their programs to the public.

As 2016 begins with this news, my New Year’s resolution is the same as its been ever since I started working at Posit Science: Bring more proven science to more people. Thanks for joining me and everyone at Posit Science, as well as our Canadian partner, DynamicBrain on that mission!


Henry W. Mahncke, Ph.D.
CEO Posit Science Corporation
January 7, 2016