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Health Highlights: Dec. 11, 2017

Last Updated: December 11, 2017.

Here are some of the latest health and medical news developments, compiled by the editors of HealthDay:

New Drug Shows Promise in Huntington's Disease Patients

An experimental drug lowered levels of toxic proteins in the brains of people with Huntington's disease, researchers report.

It's the first time that the defect that causes the fatal neurodegenerative disease has been corrected, and the results provide hope for a treatment, according to the University College London (UCL) scientists, BBC News reported Monday.

This could be the most significant advance in neurodegenerative diseases in 50 years, some experts said.

Huntington's disease causes the progressive breakdown of nerve cells in the brain. It deteriorates a person's physical and mental abilities, eventually robbing them of the ability to walk, eat and talk.

The study included 46 patients who had the drug injected into the fluid that surrounds the brain and spinal cord. The drug is designed to correct a genetic error that causes a protein that's crucial to brain development to turn into a destroyer of brain cells instead, BBC News said.

The drug reduced levels of this protein in patients' brains and was safe and well-tolerated, according to the researchers. The full details of the first human clinical trial will be published next year and presented to scientists.

"For the first time we have the potential, we have the hope, of a therapy that one day may slow or prevent Huntington's disease," lead researcher Sarah Tabrizi, director of the Huntington's Disease Centre at UCL, told BBC News.

"This is of groundbreaking importance for patients and families," she added.

However, much more testing is needed to determine whether the drug can change the course of the fatal disease, BBC News reported.

"I really think this is, potentially, the biggest breakthrough in neurodegenerative disease in the past 50 years," said John Hardy, a UCL scientist who wasn't involved in the research.

"That sounds like hyperbole -- in a year I might be embarrassed by saying that -- but that's how I feel at the moment," Hardy, an Alzheimer's disease researcher, told BBC News.

He added that this same approach might prove useful in other neurodegenerative diseases caused by a buildup of toxic proteins in the brain.

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Choceur Dark Chocolate Bars Recalled by ALDI

Choceur Dark Chocolate Bars have been recalled by ALDI because they may contain unlisted almond pieces that could pose a serious risk to people with nut allergies.

The recall covers 5.29 oz. chocolate bars with brown and red wrapping, a best-by date of July 24, 2018, and the UPC code: 4149817964.

The bars, which were sold in dozens of states, have been removed from store shelves. To date, no illnesses related to the recalled chocolate bars have been reported, according to ALDI.

Customers with the chocolate bars should throw them away or return them to their local store for a full refund. For more information, go to the company's website or call 1-800-325-7894, Monday to Friday between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. CST.


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