For Monday, Sept. 25, WGN’s Lourdes Duarte has new medical information, including:

FDA considers new ALS treatment

The Food and Drug Administration considers approval of a treatment many Lou Gehrig’s disease patients have been pushing for.   

The treatment from drugmaker Brainstorm is called NurOwn

Lou Gehrig’s disease has few treatment options and desperate patients have been lobbying the FDA for a year to get it approved.    

However, officials say the only study done on stem cell therapy did not show a benefit to patients. Still, optimism remains because regulators approved two other ALS treatments after similar lobbying efforts.  

Gene variant raises Parkinson’s risk in people of African descent

A gene discovered in people of African descent puts them at quadruple the risk for developing Parkinson’s disease. 

A team made the finding with the Global Parkinson’s Genetics Program.

Those who carried a single copy of the gene variant were about 50 percent more likely to develop Parkinson’s. 

People with two copies saw their risk increase by nearly 400%

The findings could eventually help scientists develop a treatment for people with the gene variant. 

Rat lungworm found in Atlanta

A worm that jumps from rats to slugs and sometimes, the human brain, is spreading in a new part of the southeast. 

Based on evidence found in dead rats in Atlanta, researchers say the parasite has firmly established itself in Georgia. 

As its name suggests, the rat lungworm lives in the rats’ lungs, where they mate and lay eggs. 

Slugs pick them up from rat droppings. 

They make their way into humans in various ways including undercooked snails or inadvertantly eating them in unwashed salad. 

There’s no treatment and the lungworm can cause nerve damage, paralysis, coma and even death. 

Study: Tobacco industry responsible for junk food addictions

A new study suggests tobacco companies are responsible for hooking people on junk food. 

In the 1980s, tobacco giants Phillip Morris and R. J. Reynolds acquired Kraft, General Mills, and Nabisco. 

By the 2000s, they offloaded the companies.  

The study finds during the years the tobacco industry owned these companies, junk foods were more likely to contain ingredients that drive people to crave and overeat them than those owned by other companies. 

In the past 30 years, these foods have led to a surge in obesity and diet-related diseases. 

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