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Valkee and University of Oulu Publish the First Clinical Trial on Bright Light Therapy Channeled via ear Canals in Seasonal Depression

HELSINKI, Finland, February 14, 2012 /PRNewswire/ --

Valkee (, the inventor of the bright light headset, and scientists from the University of Oulu published the first results of the clinical and neurobiological research program conducted since 2007, on human brain's light sensitiveness. The clinical trial, published in Medical Hypothesis, studied therapeutic effects of bright light channeled into the human brain via the ear canal.

"There is no conclusive evidence that light therapy is only transmitted through the eyes. On the contrary, in mammals, a significant amount of light penetrates the skull and reaches the brain. The brain has photoreceptive proteins such as encephalopsin, and physiological influences have been measured by extra ocular light exposure. Therefore, we challenged the existing paradigm by showing that the brain-targeted bright light therapy via the ear canal is an effective mechanism to relieve seasonal depression", comments Juuso Nissilä, Valkee's co-founder and chief scientist.

In the published trial, patients received 8-12 minutes of 6.0-8.5 lumen bright light daily into both ear canals for four weeks with a medical Class II(a) device manufactured by Valkee Ltd, called bright light headset. The daily administration time was personalised at the study clinic.

"The results are strong and promising. 92 % of the patients with severe seasonal affective disorder achieved full remission measured by the self-rated BDI-21 questionnaire. With the psychiatrist-rated HAMD-17 questionnaire, 77 % of the patients achieved full remission", comments Professor Markku Timonen, MD, PhD, and the lead investigator for the published trial at the University of Oulu. The full remission criteria was BDI-21 and HAMD-17 sum score ≤ 7.

Valkee introduced its bright-light headset in August 2010 and has today broad user base. 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.

Publication details: Timonen M et al. Can transcranial brain-targeted bright light treatment via ear canals be effective in relieving symptoms in seasonal affective disorder? - A pilot study. Med Hypotheses (2012), doi:10.1016/j.mehy.2012.01.019

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 and jetlag. 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). The existing paradigm suggests that light therapy is only effective when transmitted through the eyes. The results of the clinical trial now being published in Medical Hypothesis challenge this.

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