MADISON, CONN. November 12, 2019 – Ad watchdog truthinadvertising.org (TINA.org) has filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) against Neurocore, a “brain training” company with centers in Michigan and Florida. TINA.org’s investigation found that Neurocore is deceptively marketing its services to treat a number of medical conditions including autism, ADHD, anxiety, depression, and memory loss without competent scientific evidence to substantiate its claims. The ad watchdog is urging the FTC to review Neurocore’s marketing and take appropriate enforcement action.
Founded in 2004 and backed by Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, Neurocore’s treatment program is based on neurofeedback, a form of biofeedback that the company claims is a “non-invasive treatment” for “ADHD and ADD, stress disorders, anxiety, panic attacks, Asperger’s, depression, headaches, migraines, concussions, some forms of memory concerns, and sleep issues.” Treatment consists of 30 neurofeedback sessions administered by technicians and costs approximately $2,000. However, scientific support for neurofeedback is lacking and it is not an FDA-approved therapy — for any medical condition. TINA.org has also alerted the FDA to the company’s problematic claims.
Neurocore’s marketing materials on its website and social media platforms primarily target people with learning disabilities and psychiatric disorders. But it also hawks its Memory Boot Camp Program to seniors as a way to treat “aging brain and related memory issues.”
TINA.org catalogued more than 150 examples of Neurocore claiming that it can treat, cure, or alleviate the symptoms of numerous medical conditions – all without adequate scientific backup.
“For several years now, Neurocore has brazenly marketed its services to susceptible populations with inappropriate disease-treatment claims,” said TINA.org Executive Director Bonnie Patten. “Taking advantage of those with mental health issues and psychiatric disorders to turn a profit is simply not acceptable.”
The FTC has been active in taking on companies making deceptive “brain claims,” especially ones targeting seniors and other susceptible populations. In 2016, brain training company Lumosity agreed to pay $2 million to settle deceptive marketing charges. And in 2017, the agency filed a lawsuit against the makers of the dietary supplement Prevagen, based on a TINA.org complaint, for making false and unsubstantiated claims that the product improves memory, provides cognitive benefits, and is “clinically shown” to work.
To read more about TINA.org’s investigation of Neurocore, see: