Can viral videos save lives? Recent discoveries in the battle to cure the neurodegenerative disease amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (aka, ALS, or Lou Gehrig's disease) suggest it’s possible.
It’s difficult to believe that it’s been two years since the Ice Bucket Challenge took over our news feeds everywhere. Remember all those videos of your friends dumping icy water over their heads? If you were living under a rock during the summer of 2014, that chilly, hilarious video campaign to benefit ALS reasearch ignited one of the greatest viral calls-to-action in the history of the internet.
The makeup of the challenge—each participant had to nominate three more—inspired over 2.4-million videos to be shared on social media. Celebrities from Chris Pratt to Oprah got in on the fun, making it a household sensation. All of this culminated in $115 million dollars raised for finding a cure to ALS.
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Last week, the New York Times gave an update on how that money is going to work. The ALS Association (the primary recipient of money raised by ice-bucket participants) recently announced that the organization has discovered yet another gene that causes the disease. And that's a win that makes getting a cold, chilly bucket of icy water to the head all worth it.
While researchers have discovered other genes associated with ALS in the past, this discovery is notable because it is among the most common genes associated with the illness.
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Being able to target these genes allows for broader treatment, a greater understanding of the disease in general, and a more timely diagnoses.
In an age where we all scroll down our news feeds 24/7, isn't nice to know that trending topics can do some good, too?
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Tell us in the comments: Did you once participate in the Ice Bucket Challenge?