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Brain training franchisor LearningRx settles FTC complaint about its marketing claims

BrainTraining_learningRxLearn­ingRx To Pay $200K For Alleged­ly Unproven Claims That Brain Train­ing Can Improve Income, Treat Autism & ADHD (Con­sumerist):

The com­pa­ny behind the Learn­ingRX “brain train­ing” pro­gram has agreed to pay a $200,000 set­tle­ment and to stop mak­ing claims that its sys­tem is clin­i­cal­ly proven to treat seri­ous health con­di­tions, or that it can dra­mat­i­cal­ly improves a user’s IQ or income.

Accord­ing to the com­plaint [PDF]…the com­pa­ny made numer­ous unsub­stan­ti­at­ed claims in the mar­ket­ing of its program…The FTC also accused Learn­ingRx of mak­ing unproven state­ments regard­ing the program’s effec­tive­ness in treat­ing Atten­tion Deficit Hyper­ac­tiv­i­ty Dis­or­der, Autism, and patients who had suf­fered strokes, and oth­er trau­mat­ic brain injury…the FTC took issue with the company’s behind the scenes mar­ket­ing, not­ing that Learn­ingRx “engaged in an exten­sive search engine cam­paign through Google AdWords, pur­chas­ing hun­dreds of key­words relat­ed to Atten­tion Deficit Dis­or­der (ADD), autism, mem­o­ry, demen­tia, Alzheimer’s dis­ease, and trau­mat­ic brain injury, in order to induce con­sumers to click on Defen­dants’ spon­sored links to Learn­ingRx web­pages.”

Among the key­word phras­es paid for by Learn­ingRx: “autism cure,” “Asperg­er cure,” “severe trau­mat­ic brain injury cure,” “Alzheimers cure,” and “is there a cure for demen­tia.”

For its part, Learn­ingRx has issued a lengthy rebut­tal to the FTC announce­ment, argu­ing that the FTC is not a sci­en­tif­ic agency and that it shouldn’t be hold­ing brain train­ing claims up to the same rig­or­ous stan­dards applied to test­ing of phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal drugs.

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