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Well, After All That, the Ice Bucket Challenge Helped ALS Researchers Discover a Gene

The ice bucket challenge seems to have led to positive change in the world. Actually, the ice bucket challenge could heal the world.


If you’ll remember, this was one of those simple dumb viral challenges: Pour ice water over head, record yourself and tag a few friends. It was presumed that many people skipped out on the second part of the challenge, which involved donating money for ALS research. Well, actually, you cynical asshole, the money raised during that silly time in our lives helped researchers discover a gene linked to ALS.

After raising a reported $115 million, the challenge was considered a success and, according to the ALS Association, 67 percent of the proceeds were used for research purposes, while the remaining amount went to drug treatments, patient services, fund-raising, etc. The New York Times reports:

The challenge money allowed the association to invest $1 million in Project MinE, and “initiated the U.S. arm of this international effort,” Carrie Munk, a spokeswoman for the association, said.

The discovery of NEK1 is significant but is not a breakthrough — some 30 genes tied to the disease have already been identified — according to Brian Frederick, executive vice president for communications and development for the A.L.S. Association.

Mr. Frederick said that the discovery of the gene could eventually mean that “treatments won’t be limited to one subset of people with A.L.S., but that it might be a more broad group.”


Maybe we should bring back the ice bucket challenge for humanity and for old time’s sake.

Culture Editor, Jezebel

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I’ve already done a couple “told you so”s to some Negative Nancys from a few years ago.

ALS took my Dad. Fuck that disease, any dent in its progress is a cause worth celebrating.