Valkee`s response to Ylioppilaslehti`s feature ”Let there be Valkee”


The English language online article about Valkee in Ylioppilaslehti (18.11.2014) contains several accusations that are in our view false, and that have had a habit of repeating across other media, as well. We`d like to correct the most blatant ones.

If Valkee was marketed with lies, as the article claims, the regulator would intervene. This has not happened. Valkee is a Class 2(a) medical device for light therapy, meeting the requirements of both the EU Medical Device Directive and the national law. Valkee is marketed with claims that have been checked with Valvira, the National Supervisory Authority For Welfare And Health.

Valkee was not the first to discover light receptor proteins like melanopsin. It was discovered by independent researchers on frog`s skin already in 1998, and since then in humans, in the skin, in the eye, and in the brain. The opsin-protein findings at Oulu University are consistent with other independent findings.

So far Valkee has been involved in eight medical studies of transcranial bright light that have been published in peer reviewed science journals. For example, this October the respected medical journal BMC Psychiatry published a clinical study from 2011 on Valkee`s efficacy in treating Seasonal Affective Disorder. This same journal has published studies by other light therapy experts such as professor Timo Partonen. The peer referees have determined that the study conforms to good scientific practice.

The ”Basel” study by V. Bromundt mentioned in Ylioppilaslehti`s article is often falsely referenced in the media. That particular study did not measure Valkee`s clinical efficacy in its intended medical use, and the intervention with Valkee was not administered in accordance with use instructions of daily exposure over several weeks. Instead the study protocol included a single 12-minute exposure. The study measured the concentration of melatonin in saliva and the circadian rhythm, instead of mood. According to current scientific understanding, the central monoamine in seasonal depression is likely to be serotonin, and the intended medical use of Valkee is the treatment of a seasonal mood disorder.

We were under the impression that Ylioppilaslehti was writing an article about the media attention we have received, as they told us. We admitted that we lack the resources to research the nature and motivations of media attention. We recommended interviewing media scholars for this end. In the end, the article had little to do with media publicity, which was a surprise to us. We would have liked to learn more about the dynamics of media coverage we get, as the same few false claims and manufactured anecdotes keep repeating in media without any basis in truth.

Pekka Somerto, CEO, Valkee Ltd