The concept for the Valkee sounds like the worst kind of snake-oil: it’s a little box that combats the dark blues of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) with bright lights. Nothing new there, except it shines the lights into your head through your ears.
Winter depression, in the form of SAD, has been treated with bright lights since forever. Researchers at the University of Oulu, Finland, say that it’s not the eyes that need the light, it’s the brain. The ear-canal is a convenient hole in the head through which to shine light, so the Valkee uses a pair of earbuds to light up the inside of your head, and stimulate photo-sensitive parts of the gray matter.
That’s the theory at least. Tests run at the University of Oulu confirm its efficacy, offering relief to nine out of ten subjects with a daily 8-12 minute dose for four weeks. And not everyone is as skeptical as me. Valkee has received angel investment from such smart people as Esther Dyson and ex-Nokia boss Anssi Vanjoki.
Proper clinical trials are running now, which further inspires confidence. And for those in northern climes, where the winter months can bring nights that last weeks not hours, this €185 light-box could prove to be a life saver. Available now.
Valkee product page [Valkee via Oh Gizmo!]
Topic Page for Mood Disorders
Fuente: Gadget Lab