For Monday, Aug. 14, WGN’s Dina Bair has new medical information, including:

Gene therapy could reduce alcohol use

The gene therapy is already in use for Parkinson’s patients and now doctors say it works to reduce chronic heavy drinking., 

Oregon Health and Science University scientists found by implanting a type of molecule to promote cell growth, they can reset the brain’s dopamine reward pathway. 

The effects lead to a dramatic reduction in alcohol cravings and alcohol use. 

Since the procedure involves brain surgery, experts say even though it is incredibly effective, it should be reserved for only the most severe cases of alcohol use disorder. 

Brain scans reveal changes linked to different mental illnesses

Visualizing mental health issues is possible with brain scans. 

New maps reveal the individual brain changes linked to different mental illnesses. 

Scanning nearly 1300 people with various mental health challenges highlighted the diversity across conditions. 

From major depression, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, autism spectrum disorder, and ADHD, doctors were able to see how brain size and volume changed with each struggle. 

The study published in the journal Nature Neuroscience opens the door for better diagnosis and treatment. 

Shots in the same arm as more effective

When it comes to vaccines, stick with one arm. 

Instead of alternating arms for comfort after receiving a vaccine and then a booster, a new study reveals some side shots are more effective. 

Shots in the same arm generate a stronger immune response than vaccines given in alternating arms, according to research in the journal e-BioMedicine

Two weeks after the biotech covid vaccine booster shot, study participants who got each shot in the same arm had a significantly higher number of killer T-cells, which helps protect against serious covid infection. 

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