Brain-improvement company racks up two FTC referrals within months

Letters From TINA

When last we left Neurocore, the “neurofeedback” company that purports to measure various aspects of brain performance through headband monitors and other services, it had found itself on the business end of a Truth In Advertising Inc. (TINA) missive to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).

TINA recommended the FTC open an investigation into Neurocore and “take appropriate enforcement action” against it for alleged “deceptive marketing” that drew in consumers who sought assistance with several mental health issues.

But, as we noted, this wasn’t Neurocore’s first brush with the FTC.

Stormy Past

Back in August 2017, the National Advertising Division (NAD) came down on the company like a ton of bricks, recommending that it “discontinue challenged advertising claims … related to Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), autism, migraines, memory issues, sleep disorders and stress.”

Neurocore appealed the decision to the National Advertising Review Board (NARB), which affirmed NAD’s ruling in June 2018. Neurocore agreed to cooperate with the final NARB ruling.

The Takeaway

But Neurocore seems hell-bent on getting into a tussle with the FTC. While there are no reports of action taken in response to the TINA letter, NARB has taken the company to task for failing to conform to its 2018 ruling.

At issue are claims that NARB alleges were made by Neurocore in the intervening months, including that 84% of their customers experienced a “noticeable reduction of depressive symptoms,” and that 67% “no longer met symptomatic thresholds for Depression.” NARB found that these new claims fell within the scope of its earlier ruling, and that Neurocore “had not demonstrated a good faith effort to comply with the panel decision.”

And now NARB is referring the case to the FTC, which has, to put it mildly, not taken kindly to other members of the brain-improvement therapy marketplace. Do we need to fit the commissioners with mind-scanning headbands to see where this is going?