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Bright Light into the Ear Canal Treats Seasonal Depression Effectively in Two Clinical Trials Presented by Valkee and University of Oulu

HELSINKI, November 8, 2011 /PRNewswire/ --

Valkee (, the inventor of the world's first bright light headset, and scientists from the University of Oulu present two clinical trials at the 11th IFMAD International Forum for Mood and Anxiety Disorders in Budapest on November 9th-11th. In addition, the results are published in the peer-reviewed conference supplement of the International Journal of Psychiatry in Clinical Practice.

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"We presented earlier that the human brain is sensitive to light. These two clinical trials demonstrate that channeling bright light via ear canal into brain's photosensitive areas effectively prevents and treats seasonal affective disorder," comments Juuso Nissilä, Valkee's co-founder and chief scientist.

"In our first study, 92 % of the patients with seasonal affective disorder  achieved full remission measured by the self-rated BDI-21 questionnaire, during the four week study period with a daily 8-12 minute Valkee dose," comments professor Markku Timonen, MD, PhD, and the lead investigator for the two trials at the University of Oulu. The full remission criteria was BDI-21 sum score ≤ 7. The daily administration time was personalized at the study clinic.

In the presented randomized controlled trial, 89 subjects suffering from severe seasonal affective disorder had a 12-min daily Valkee dose at home in three different randomly divided groups (1, 4, 9 lumen). The response rates in the sub-groups were 74-79% for seasonal depression and 47-62% for anxiety symptoms (at least 50% reduction in BDI-21 and HAMA score, respectively, at week 4). The daily administration time was fixed to the morning, after waking up.

"These two trials show that bright light channeled into the brain via ear canal is an important future method to treat seasonal affective disorder," comments professor Timo Takala, MD, PhD, and chief physician at Oulu Deaconess Institute.

Valkee launched its bright-light headset in August 2010. Being based on cross-functional science in neurology, biology, psychiatry and physiology in University of Oulu, Finland, Valkee is a CE-certified Class II(a) medical device under the EU regulations.

The research presentation will be available for download at on Wednesday, November 9, 2011, after its scientific presentation at noon CET.

About Valkee

The Valkee ( bright light headset channels bright light direct to the human brain via the ear canal to prevent and cure depression, mood swings and circadian-rhythm disorders such as jetlag. In clinical trials, 9 of 10 patients suffering from severe seasonal affective disorder - also known as winter blues - experienced total relief from their symptoms in 4 weeks with a daily 8-12 minute dose. Valkee is based on scientific studies carried out since 2007 and is a CE-marked Class II(a) medical device. More information and for the online shop with international delivery

About the University of Oulu

The University of Oulu, one of the largest universities in Finland, is an international research and innovation university engaged in multidisciplinary basic research and academic education. The University cooperates closely with industry and commerce, and has broad connections with hundreds of international research and educational institutions. The study fields include Humanities, Education, Economics and Business, Science, Medicine, Dentistry, Health Sciences, and Technology. For more information visit

About Valkee's scientific program

Valkee ( and University of Oulu have since 2007 studied human brain photosensitivity and its therapeutic applications in curing depression and sleep disorders. Prior to these two clinical trials in seasonal affective disorder, Valkee has presented that the human brain responds to light via ear canal (fMRI data on activation of brain networks presented at ISMRM 2011) and that the human brain, not just the visual system, is sensitive to light (localization of OPN3 photoreceptor proteins broadly in 18 brain sites presented at Scandinavian Physiology Society Annual Meeting 2011).

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