Vindication! Ice Bucket Challenge Led to Breakthrough ALS Research
Sonakshi Sinha, and possibly you, contributed to a breakthrough in research that might help find a cure for ALS!
The ALS Ice Bucket challenge emerged in the summer of 2014, in which people emptied a bucket of ice cold water over their heads and then donated money which would be used for conducting research into the fatal neurological disease, Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS). Once done, they would nominate others who were to do the same.
Social media was brimming with Ice Bucket Challenge videos, and people emulated celebrities like Mark Zuckerberg, Tom Cruise, Charlie Sheen, and Robert Downey Jr who did the same.
When the ALS Ice Bucket challenge completed two weeks of being up and running, it began to invite criticism from all quarters. People were accused of jumping onto a social media bandwagon they didn’t care about.
Intellectuals dismissed the campaign as ‘slacktivism’, where people consoled themselves through participation, as they were too lazy to make any concrete change themselves. Many videos did not mention the disease at all and many participants did not contribute monetarily.
In a 30-day period, however, the campaign raised more than $100m and was able to fund a number of research projects. One such project was Project MinE, a data driven initiative running on campaign donations.
The disease is rare neurological disorder in which the motor neurons that control muscle function slowly die. It currently has no cure.
On Monday, researchers of MinE announced that they had identified a new gene associated with the disease, and this discovery would lead to new treatment possibilities.
It’s very exciting because it shows everyone who contributed to the ice bucket challenge that their donation had an impact on the research.Brian Frederick, Executive VP of Communications, ALS Association
The newly discovered gene would give researchers a target for development of possible treatments, as it is present in both inherited and sporadic forms of the disease, albeit only in 3% of ALS cases.
Fredrick said that while it was too early to understand the gene, it was a stepping stone to understanding the disease.
(Source: The Guardian)
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