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The Ice Bucket Challenge Is Back With Some Seriously Good News

We’re that much closer to finding a cure

Credit: Flickr/tenz1225

Remember two summers ago when everyone from your grandma to your neighbor was pouring ice water on their heads? Well, according to ESPN, the Ice Bucket Challenge actually did some good for the ALS community—make that a lot of good.

Thanks to the social media phenomenon, which raised more than $100 million in contributions, researchers were able to identify a gene that seems to be highly common among sufferers of ALS. The disease, also known as Lou Gehrig’s, plagues neurons in the brain and spinal cord, causing gradual muscle weakness and diminished physical functionality. Many celebrities and athletes helped make the challenge go viral not only by pouring ice water over their heads to raise awareness of ALS, but by writing hefty checks as well.

After receiving more than $100 million in donations, the ALS Association gifted $1 million to the researchers at Project MinE. Their findings, which were published this week in Nature Genetics, detail the discovery of NEK1, a gene found to be present in 3 percent of North American and European ALS cases.

Bernard Muller, an entrepreneur and ALS sufferer who helped launch Project MinE, 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. I'm incredibly pleased with the discovery of the NEK1 gene adding another step towards our ultimate goal, eradicating this disease from the face of the earth.”

So feel good knowing those few seconds of icy discomfort and the money you sent actually resulted in quantifiable success.

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