How That Silly Ice Bucket Challenge Changed The World
Start writing a post
Health and Wellness

How That Silly Ice Bucket Challenge Changed The World

Update: dumping water on our heads led to a scientific breakthrough.

How That Silly Ice Bucket Challenge Changed The World

Two summers ago, all of our social media news feeds were blowing up with people dumping buckets of ice water over their heads. The ALS ice bucket challenge had gone viral, and literally everyone was doing it. While the ALS ice bucket challenge was fun and entertaining, it was also raising money for researching cures for the disease. This thing that took over social media two years ago has now fueled a new genetic discovery.

ALS stands for Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis and is a neurodegenerative disease. The ALS association defines it as "a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord. A-myo-trophic comes from the Greek language. 'A' means no, 'Myo' refers to muscle and 'Trophic' means nourishment — 'no muscle nourishment.' When a muscle has no nourishment, it "atrophies" or wastes away. 'Lateral' identifies the areas in a person's spinal cord where portions of the nerve cells that signal and control the muscles are located. As this area degenerates, it leads to scarring or hardening ('sclerosis') in the region."

The ALS ice bucket challenge raised millions of dollars, which went to fund many different projects. $1 million went to a project done at the University of Massachusetts, led by Dr. John Landers. Dr. Landers and his team discovered the gene that causes the neurodegenerative disease. The gene has been identified as NEK1. Now that the specific gene has been discovered, it will be easier to find treatments and possible cures for the disease.

Dr. Lucie Bruijin, Chief Scientist at the ALS Association states, "The sophisticated gene analysis that led to this finding was only possible because of the large number of ALS samples available. The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge enabled The ALS Association to invest in Project MinE's work to create large biorepositories of ALS biosamples that are designed to allow exactly this kind of research and to produce exactly this kind of result."

Without the donations obtained from the ALS ice bucket challenge, this genetic discovery would not have been possible. This is a perfect example of the way social media should be used for. People suffering from ALS are one step closer to finding a cure so that they can live a better life.

More research needs to be done so that a cure can be found. If you would like to donate, please visit

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
Student Life

College 101: How To Ease The Back To School Blues

Getting back into the school groove when you just can't seem to let go of summer.

Beyond The States

With fall classes just beginning, many of us find ourselves struck with summer withdrawals. Especially for those who refrained from taking courses over the summer, it can be quite difficult to get back in the swing of things. Fortunately, there are various ways to help make the transition back to college as smooth as possible.

Keep Reading... Show less
Dating Apps

We Met At A Bar

Salvage what you can; if you can't, it's alright to walk away.

We Met At A Bar
Anne Waldon

We met at a bar.

Keep Reading... Show less

The Mets And Me

They may be the worst sometimes, but this baseball team has given me more than I could ask for.

Rich Schultz/Getty Images

On September 3rd, 2001, a sea of children littered my home's navy-carpeted den to watch baseball during my dad's 40th birthday extravaganza. A baseball game flickered on the TV, and a red and blue bubble of a scoreboard sat in the bottom right corner of the screen. The New York Mets and the Philadelphia Phillies were in a wild game at Veterans' Stadium. As I, a five-year-old boy with a jumble of curly blonde hair, sat in the back of the kid clump, I wondered which team I should root for. After a long debate with myself, I decided that I should root for the team that's winning (duh). But, as the ninth inning rolled around with the Phils maintaining a 7-5 lead, some magic occurred. The Mets put up five runs in one frame, stunning the Phillie fans in the room and winning the game 10-7.

Keep Reading... Show less

Which BTS Member You Are Based On Your Star Sign

If you love BTS, I'm sure you relate to one or many of them in several ways. This star test will help you learn more about which member you are most connected to.

Which BTS Member You Are Based On Your Star Sign

Astrological signs tell a lot about a person. Do you ever wonder what your BTS bias star sign is? Is it the same as yours, or or are you more like one of the other amazing members? Take a look and find out what yours (and the members of Bangtan) says about you.

Keep Reading... Show less

Hittin' the Road Playlist

With the end of August approaching more quickly than many of us would like, the preparation for school is happening in more ways than just one.


The car is all packed. The money you saved (and didn't spend online) from your summer internship is secured quietly in your bank account. The immediate reunion with your long-distance college friends is set. The real question on everyone's minds is: do you have the perfect melody to jam to as you journey back to school? 

Keep Reading... Show less

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Facebook Comments