or some people, the bright yellow color of daffodils can signify springtime cheer, and new research suggests the flower might actually be beneficial to those suffering from mental illness. University of Copenhagen researchers say that a chemical compound in daffodils may be the key to treating stubborn brain conditions like depression and anxiety. Here, a concise guide to the findings:
Why is depression so hard to treat?
The brain is wrapped in a blood barrier that forms a protective cover. Unfortunately, this barrier is bad news for drugs intended to treat diseases: Nine out of 10 chemical compounds are booted out by the barrier's guard proteins as soon as they make it in.
So how can daffodils help?
Scientists at the University of Copenhagen discovered that a breed of South African daffodils contain a compound that essentially "tricks" the barrier into letting drugs through. Researchers surmise that this can be used to essentially camouflage different medicines like antidepressants. "The blood vessels of the brain are impenetrable for most compounds, one reason being the very active transporter proteins," lead researcher Birger Brodin tells the Daily Mail. "So it is of great interest to find compounds that manage to 'trick' this line of defense."
Why is this an advantage?
Psychiatric treatment drugs are harsh on the body and often come with "horrible side effects," says Harold Mandel at Examiner, and that's why scientists are always looking for natural ways — including possibly using flowers — to treat mental illnesses. Still, these new findings mark "the first stage of a lengthy process," says Brodin, "so it will take some time before we can determine which of the plant compounds can be used to further drug development."
- WATCH: Jon Stewart and Bill O'Reilly spar over the Obama scandals
- How the White House's war on media backfired
- WATCH: Suspect defends brutal beheading of London man in broad daylight
- A linguistic dissection of 7 annoying teenage sounds
- 10 things you need to know today: May 23, 2013
- Is Greek yogurt hurting the environment?
- Sadly, you are uglier than you think
- 7 grammar rules you really should pay attention to
- 32 TV shows to watch in 2013 [Updated]
- Confessions of a trust-fund baby
- The politics behind Kanye West's 'New Slaves'
- Are we on the cusp of a solar energy boom?
- Why Oklahoma Sen. Tom Coburn doesn't want tornado relief money
- WATCH: Jon Stewart hates everyone in Washington now
- LIVE UPDATES: Massive tornado tears through Oklahoma City area
- Angry at the government? 5 ways you can fight back
- 7 purported health benefits of drinking coffee
- What is a quantum computer — and why does Google need one?
- Why NASA is funding a 3D pizza printer
- The cool backstory of the Slurpee