An app in the App Store called Lunar is currently the third most popular app in the Health and Fitness category after launching just three months ago. The listing in the App Store says that Lunar "tracks your period, ovulation, fertility, and much more." And the app also says that it helps women get pregnant by telling them when they are most fertile and able to conceive. Lunar also claims to be able to test users' blood sugar, blood pressure, ovulation levels and the genetic makeup of their unborn child merely by scanning their fingertips or stomach using a smartphone camera.
Huffington Post says that experts it asked to review the ratings say that the "vast majority" of reviews are fake. We should point out that there is a free version of Lunar although more features are available to those who subscribe for one year at $17.99, 6 months for $9.99, or monthly for $2.99. And all of these subscriptions auto-renew.With 17,600 users ranking the app, it scores an outstanding 4.8 out of 5. However,
People are being bribed to leave 5-star reviews of Lunar
Before you spend the money to subscribe, consider the results of Huffington Post's testing of the app. The free version of the app revealed a 77% pregnancy rate for a person who had their fingertips scanned; that would be great news except for the fact that the person being tested was a male. Huffington Post pulled out all of the stops, even subjecting an old banana to a test on Lunar. There was mixed news there; the fruit had a normal heart rate but was at risk of developing high blood pressure. Lunar also received complaints from women who were informed by the app that they were pregnant when they were not, and others who were told that they had various illnesses that they did not have.
It is ridiculous for Lunar to claim that a smartphone photo scan can capture a user's blood sugar reading. Quite often we have reminded you that Apple has been working hard to develop a method that would allow the Apple Watch to compute this reading for diabetics. Right now, an insulin-dependent diabetic must test himself before each meal by drawing blood and testing it using a disposable test strip and a glucometer. And talking about some of Lunar's other claims, Dr. R. Stan Williams, the chairman of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Florida Health’s reproductive medicine department says, "It’s just ludicrous. I don’t know of any medical literature stating that a cellphone can capture biometric information like that."
Google has already kicked the app off of the Google Play Store where it had an average review of 4.7 out of 5. You can't trust any of these reviews since the developer behind Lunar offered people the chance to win a $25 Sephora gift card by leaving a 5-star review of the app. Before the app was banned by Google, it was one of the Play Store's top free Health & Fitness apps.
Some of the claims made by Lunar on social-media sound like they are old-wives tales aimed at the ignorant. On Facebook, Lunar told women to pee in a glass and add salt as a pregnancy test. At least one woman complied and posted a photo of her pee. On Instagram, it posted that women can enlarge their breast size by rubbing them "to flush out toxins and stimulate their growth." And in a blog post, Lunar said that women need to gain weight and go on a vegan diet to increase their chances of having twins.
One of the fears that experts have is that consumers will truly believe that health claims made by the app and use it in lieu of a visit to the doctor. Product-review expert Saoud Khalifah says, "People are getting duped and in many cases, legitimate businesses can’t compete anymore because there are people leveraging nefarious tactics to get ahead. Platforms aren’t stopping them."