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 (http://valkee.com), 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 Nissila, 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 less than or equal to 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
The Valkee (http://valkee.com) 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 http://valkee.com
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 http://www.oulu.fi/english
About Valkee’s scientific program
Valkee (http://valkee.com) 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.