New hope for Seasonal Affective Disorder

New hope for Seasonal Affective Disorder

By Liz Lockhart

Scientists reveal bright light shone through the ear is an effective cure for the winter blues.

Information sent to Mental Healthy from suggests that there is a new treatment for Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) which is showing very promising results.

Data from two clinical trials shows that bright light, delivered via the ear canal, effectively treats SAD.  The trials were conducted by Finnish scientists.  The findings of the trials are to be published in the International Journal of Psychiatry in Clinical Practice.

A press release from ‘Valkee’ states:

 November 8, 2011. Helsinki, Finland; London, UK– Valkee the inventor of the world’s first bright light headset, and scientists from the University of Oulu in Finland have revealed the results of clinical trials which demonstrate that bright light delivered via the ear canal is  effective in treating seasonal depression. 

SAD is a condition which, says Valkee, affects 17% of the UK’s population and manifests itself in a number of ways, including general depression, anxiety and low energy levels.  You can read more about the condition here.

In the latest controlled scientific trial, 89 individuals suffering from severe SAD, received a 12 minute daily dose of light therapy using Valkee.  These participants were divided into three groups. Each morning over a four week period each of the three groups received a different intensity of light via the ear canal just after waking up. 

Out of the 89 participants in the trial, 74-79% responded positively to the trial for SAD with a further 62% in the group receiving the lowest intensity of light also responding positively to the symptoms of general anxiety.

‘We have always been aware from previous research that the human brain is sensitive to light,’ said Juuso Nissila, chief scientist and co-founder of Valkee.  Nissila was speaking at the 11th International Forum for Mood and Anxiety Disorders in Budapest. 

‘Our latest clinical trial, which has been validated by the scientific community, demonstrates that channelling bright light via the ear canal into the brain’s photosensitive areas is a far quicker and more effective way of preventing and treating symptoms of SAD,’ he added.

Valkee launched its bright-light headset in August 2010 in Finland and it is now available to buy in the UK. The device which is the size of a portable MP3 player is plugged into the ear via headphones. Based on cross-functional science in neurology, biology, psychiatry and physiology, Valkee is a CE-certified Class II(a) medical device under the EU regulations.  

The full research presentation will be available for download at on Wednesday, November 9, 2011, after its scientific presentation at 11th IFMAD International Forum for Mood and Anxiety Disorders in Budapest. 

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. For more information, the online shop and information about international delivery, visit 

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