Is Lumosity Modern Day Snake Oil?

snake oilMany of us with a relative who has been diagnosed with dementia wonder if we can do anything to help guide our brain health. I’ve had two parents with dementia (Alzheimer’s and Vascular) which was one of the reasons I ended up on The Dr. Oz Show.

The expert Dr. Oz interviewed was Cynthia R. Green, Ph.D. who is a clinical psychologist, author, and one of America’s foremost experts on brain health. We have stayed in touch and when she recently shared a story that the scientist behind the most comprehensive study of brain training say apps like Lumosity are based on shaky science, I wasn’t really surprised. This month, the Federal Trade Commission cracked down on Lumosity, which has agreed to pay a $2 million settlement. “Lumosity preyed on consumers’ fears about age-related cognitive decline, suggesting their games could stave off memory loss, dementia, and even Alzheimer’s disease,” Jessica Rich, director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection, said in a statement. “But Lumosity simply did not have the science to back up its ads.”

I have read several reports over the years that list some key elements of brain health and we all know there is a substantial element of our health that we can’t control. However, it does bother me that some people were lead to believe that playing games is a silver bullet. Exercise, socialization, the adoption of a Mediterranean diet, fish oil supplements, and cognitive training (versus brain games) are elements of my focus to lead a different outcome than my parents. It may still be for naught.

Plan B for me has been the use of systems like MemoryBanc to document my personal accounts, and details; and estate planning to put the tools in place to define my wishes and give those the tools to help should I need it.

While we would all love to be given a simple solution to perfect health, I hope you will consider implementing a plan b. Your loved ones will benefit the most. Wished.


5 thoughts on “Is Lumosity Modern Day Snake Oil?

  1. Day after day I find little tweaks to our diet and lifestyle that might just help. Playing Lp’s by Anne Murray work wonders here at the moment. Maureen is transformed as she sings along to: ‘For No Reason At All’.

  2. I have mixed feelings about this. I’ve used Lumosity in the past and found it enjoyable and useful, in it made clear what I struggle with (making split-second decisions) and what I excel at (concentration, judgment) and I found that useful to apply at work. I don’t remember Lumosity’s product claims, but I never believed it was going to prevent dementia. Maybe I’m just more skeptical than the average person, but consumers need to apply common sense before signing up for services and products that offer promises that no one else is making.

    But for those who may not be aware, thanks for passing this study along so people can make an informed decision.

    1. Thanks Joy. This is a sore subject with me because I have had several people that have parent’s with dementia tell me they are using this as a tool to combat what they are seeing happening to their loved ones. My goal was to share that it’s just not as simple as signing up for one thing, there are many factors that can help. However, after reading into much of the information, cognitive therapy will help the brain build on ways to deal with cognitive decline which impacts everyone as they age. Maybe it’s more like running versus having a trainer. If you enjoy it, you should continue to do it, but just know there are other options for increasing brain fitness that might be more effective if you are worried about cognitive decline. ; >

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