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The Ice Bucket Challenge Actually Worked: New ALS Gene Discovered

Thanks in part to the funds raised from the Ice Bucket Challenge, researchers have found another piece of the puzzle in the race to cure ALS.

  • Remember the Ice Bucket Challenge? Everyone — and I mean everyone — made one of those videos. Robert Downey Jr. did it. VanossGaming did it. A vulgar three-year-old did it. Even Charlie Sheen kinda did it. According to CNN, 17 million videos of people doing the Ice Bucket Challenge were uploaded in 2014 — this despite a whole lot of people complaining that people were doing it more to draw attention to themselves than to do any real good.

    Well, guess what? Despite all the haters hating on the IBC, it actually raised a ton of awareness of the disease — and, more importantly, actual money to help fight it. Like, 121 million actual, real American greenback dollars. That's nearly 15 times what they raised in 2013, according to this tweet from Darren Rovell.

    Some of that money was put to good use this past week when researchers discovered the NEK1 gene, a gene linked to the disease that could help scientists understand it better. According to CNN, the ALS Association announced Monday that $1 million they sent to a University of Massachusetts Medical School Project called Project MinE helped lead directly to identifying the NEK1 gene.

    This isn't the first time the Ice Bucket Challenge has paid off. Writing in the New Yorker, James Surowiecki cites a breakthrough paper published in 2015 by a team from Johns Hopkins in Science that directly credited the Ice Bucket Challenge with accelerating the pace of their work.

    What do you think? Do you still hate the Ice Bucket Challenge, or have you come to accept the good it's done? Let us know in the comments below or @WhatsTrending on Twitter!

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