Ice Bucket Challenge leads to ALS breakthrough

Ice Bucket Challenge leads to ALS breakthrough(Credits : Youtube)

Some things just take time, take for instance- the frenzy on social media in 2014, yes you remember- the Ice Bucket Challenge. Two years later and the ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis) Association announced that monies generated during the massively popular internet sensation aided in leading to a crucial advance with the difficult syndrome.

Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, commonly called known either ALS or Lou Gehrig’s Disease, is a neurological issue where the brain gradually loses control over muscles.

Recently, researchers from the association discovered the very rare NEK1 gene which is only associated with 3% of ALS cases. The gene bears significant importance amid the other frequent genes that are associated with having ALS.

According to wfaa Hereditary ALS conditions make up approximately 10 percent of all ALS known cases, and experts believe that additional genes have a hand as well. Indicating that the gene exists in both forms of the condition; greatly excites experts to focus on new tactics when considering medications to develop.

It sure was something to watch all those videos that went around of people being drenched in cold water. And if you don’t remember- the ice bucket challenge was a major happening in summer 2014 where just about everybody had a bucket of ice water poured on their heads to collect donations followed by giving a shout out to someone else to take the challenge.

It’s a good thing the cause was so important- to get the message about ALS out to so many more people. As it happens, the challenge funded not one, not two, not three, not even just four- but six research projects!

Ice Bucket Challenge

Except that that money wasn’t a guarantee in 2014, since plenty of people wrote off the viral sensation as just a stunning act, yet it produced over 200$ million which went into new studies of the disease its cure, chiefly the discovery of the gene NEK1.

The main examination of NEK1’s function in ALS was released in Nature Genetics, reported that the elegance of the gene investigation came when Project MinE was able to order the genomes of more than 10,000 sufferers of the disease involving over 80 researchers from 11 countries.

While more than 17 million drenched themselves in the viral ice bucket challenge and shared the videos on social media, an overwhelming 440 million people merely watched.

And those who had written the campaign off called it a kind of slacktivism, to their credit most of the frenzy looked good on the internet but don’t make good where it counts, you probably forgot about the warlord Joseph Kony, before the Ice Bucket Challenge he was the focus of another viral sensation to “Make Kony Famous” whereby his fame would take him into legal custody.

Moreover, of the 17 million that had the ice poured on them while 440 million watched, everyone who merely watched didn’t contribute to the ALS research. Furthermore, many of those who did get the ice dumped on them failed to mention the cause at all. Instead, ALS kind of took a backseat to just another fun thing that everybody else is doing. Some sufferers of the disorder even felt offended that their ailment was being used in such a way.

It’s great that the internet is capable of improving, rather than just sucking the life out of, our lives.

About the Author

Mariangel Silva
Mariangel Silva is a senior reporter on NY Daily. Bachelor of Arts in International Development Studies from McGill University.

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