EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Merrimack Valley

November 17, 2012

Acne? Ringing in the ear? There's an app for anything that ails you — even if it doesn't work


The New England Center for Investigative Reporting is a nonprofit investigative reporting newsroom at Boston University and supported in part by New England media outlets that include The Eagle-Tribune. Marion Halftermeyer, Sarah Kuranda, John Wayne Ferguson, Maddie Powell, Divya Shankar and Elizabeth Peters contributed to this report.





App uses light   App uses sound  App costs more than $3.    


AG Method Promises relief for everything from insomnia to toothaches by listening to something that sounds like running water for 20-minutes. It combines this with a flashing notification that reads "HEALING IN PROGRESS."



Ringing Relief Pro Advertised itself as "an easy and inexpensive way to cure your tinnitus. . . Simply play the low frequency hum that sounds best to you for 90 seconds and your ears should ring no more!" Tinnitus is a persistent ringing in the ears, which the app claimed was due to stuck inner ear hairs.


iSAD Lamp Says it "will put a smile on your face and help wash away the Winter Blues." It tells consumers to turn the phone light to its highest brightness and use the app for 15 to 45 minutes every day.





Cardiac Stress Test Determines "if you are ready for sports or if your heart is not in a healthy condition." Users take their heart rates after performing 30 squats in less than 60 seconds, and simply enter them into the app's calculator, which then determines whether the user's heart is in shape for exercise.



AcneApp Used light therapy to treat acne, citing a study in the British Journal of Dermatology, which suggested that light therapy was almost twice as effective as over-the-the counter blemish treatments. After being sued by the FTC, AcneApp settled the case by paying fines of $14,294, but did not admit wrongdoing.



uBaby Claims to be able to accurately predict the gender of an unborn baby using a calculator where users enter the birthdates of future parents and grandparents and other complicated algorithms.




Sex Engine Lady Describes itself as a “portable x-drive booster” and contains suggestive pictures. Apple claims to reject any pornographic apps.        

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