Ads Linking ADHD and Obesity Pulled from Instagram and TikTok | Cerebral Chief Medical Officer Says He Didn't Approve

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Urian B., Tech Times 27 January 2022, 06:01 pm

An ad by Cerebral said that obesity is "five times more prevalent" amongst adults that have ADHD and was shut down on Instagram by Meta and on TikTok.

The ad showed junk food such as cake and chips surrounding a woman and came with a caption that says "those who live by impulse die by impulse."

A Cerebral Ad was Taken Down from Instagram and TikTok

As a background, Cerebral hired Olympic gold medalist Simone Biles and the company was recently valued at $4.8 billion, according to a report by Bloomberg.

Meta and TikTok said that they found that the ads contained misleading health claims and promoted negative body images.

Meta initially removed the ad from Instagram and, per the story by NBCNews, the ad popped up once again on TikTok just two days after. The popular video sharing platform removed it after the publication made an inquiry.

Even the Cerebral Chief Medical Officer Disapproves

A TikTok spokeswoman, Ashley Nash-Hahn, stated that "TikTok has strict policies to protect users from fake, fraudulent, misleading, or harmful ads." This is in reference to the two ads by Cerebral that they removed for violating the platform's body image policies.

Even the Cerebral chief medical officer, Dr. David Mou, stated in an interview that the company's ads came from an outside agency. He noted that in the past, ads would be reviewed by him and his team of clinicians.

Chief Medical Officer Says He 'Would Not Have Been OK With That'

They did not, however, approve the ones that connected obesity to ADHD and even showed images of junk food. Mou said that as a clinician "I would not have been OK with that" saying that it was his mistake.

He stated that he has come up with a process where he and his clinical team "will be reviewing everything that comes through" after immediately pulling the ad. In addition, Mou said that they would do this in order for nothing similar to happen again.

No Disclaimers Were Placed

Mou noted that no disclaimers were in the Cerebral advertisements saying should a drug name be in an advertisement, "you have to put all the disclaimers." In addition, Mou stated that this would not be needed if one talks about weight management or medications for that."

Cerebral is a startup that began in2020 and connects patients to medical providers. It is important to note that the company is not subjected "to the same advertising regulations as drug manufacturers."

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What Does a Medical Professional Have to Say About the Issue

Legally, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not "regulate medical ads that don't recommend or suggest the use of a certain drug." 

A psychology professor at Syracuse University, Kevin Antshel, has been extensively studying ADHD. According to the professor, Cerebral's ads "painted an incomplete picture of the condition. While research has associated obesity with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, ADHD has been linked to many illnesses," as seen on the CDC website.

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Written by Urian B.

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