Patients who suffer from seasonal affective disorder (SAD) and show symptoms of depression each winter are in luck. The Finnish company Valkee Ltd. has created headphones that, instead of emitting sounds, send a bright light directly to the brain through the ear canal. In this way, they assure from the company, it is possible “to prevent and cure depression, mood swings and circadian rhythm disorders such as jetlag .”
In the first clinical trials of the invention, which was developed with the participation of neurologists and physiologists from the University of Oulu (Finland), the Valkee headset reduced or completely eliminated the symptoms of SAD in 90% of patients after use 4 weeks, with a daily dose of 8-12 minutes. It was also used to treat anxiety, reducing symptoms by up to 60%. “Valkee increases the amount of light the brain receives to natural levels when the outside light is not enough; it is a safe and natural way to recharge,” the researchers clarify.
It is not the first gadget created to combat depression with light. A team of engineers from Denmark has recently created SEQUINETIC “sunglasses”, which provide light equivalent to natural daylight.