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Social Media Not Entirely Evil: Ice Bucket Challenge Leads to ALS Breakthrough

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Remember the Ice Bucket Challenge?

Surprising old people everywhere, it looks like social media has actually helped create a major scientific breakthrough.

If you cast your mind back to 2014 you might remember the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. People would dump a bucket of icy-cold water over themselves and post it on social media, while often challenging their friends to do the same.

“Science” source

The viral trend raised awareness and millions of dollars for research into amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), a disease that causes muscle atrophy and eventually death.

Source

Well, the ALS Association has recently announced that the funds raised through the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge has allowed them to discover a gene that commonly leads to ALS.  Identifying this gene, named NEK1, will allow ALS researchers to potentially develop new means of treating the disease. Currently, people who are diagnosed with ALS (often called Motor Neurone Disease in Australia) have, on average, two to five years before they become paralysed, then die.

The ALS Association received over 100 million dollars in donations directly from the Ice Bucket Challenge, with several celebrities getting on board to help the cause.

No word yet on whether Pokemon Go will lead to similar breakthroughs.