The $100M Ice Bucket Challenge Donations Just Funded A Scientific Breakthrough

About two years ago, the Ice Bucket Challenge went viral on social media. People from all walks of life – including celebrities and world leaders – immediately hopped on the trend, dumping some buckets of ice and water on their heads.

Although it was intended to increase awareness about amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS or Lou Gehrig’s disease) and to raise funds for it, many haters bashed it as senseless and crazy. In fact some even went as far as branding it as “slacktivism.”

als ice bucket challenge 3

Photo credit: USA Today

Well, this news will probably fire back at all those critics.

Photo credit: YouTube

Photo credit: YouTube

In a BoredPanda blog report, we are told that the University of Massachusetts Medical School’s Project MinE conducted a successful research where they were able to identify the NEK1 gene as that which causes the disease. The groundbreaking discovery was recently published in Nature Genetics.

Photo credit: Nature

Photo credit: Nature

This was, of course, made possible, thanks to the $100 million raised by the online campaign with $1 million of which was used to fund the research of the university scientists. With this discovery, medical experts will have higher chances of coming up with a cure for the disease.

Project MinE founder Bernard Muller said:

“The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge enabled us to secure funding from new sources in new parts of the world. “This transatlantic collaboration supports our global gene hunt to identify the genetic drivers of ALS.”

That being said, kudos to everyone who participated in the ice bucket challenge. You guys helped make a big difference!

What is ALS?

“ALS,” according to, “is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord.”

Photo credit: Nursing Crib

Photo credit: Nursing Crib

The site also added:

“There are two different types of ALS, sporadic and familial. Sporadic which is the most common form of the disease in the U.S., is 90 – 95 percent of all cases. It may affect anyone, anywhere. Familial ALS (FALS) accounts for 5 to 10 percent of all cases in the U.S. Familial ALS means the disease is inherited. In those families, there is a 50% chance each offspring will inherit the gene mutation and may develop the disease. French neurologist Jean-Martin Charcot discovered the disease in 1869.”

Currently, there is no known cure for ALS which is alarming since people who are suffering from it die within 2 to 5 years after diagnosis.

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