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The Ice Bucket Challenge Actually Did Help ALS Research
By: The Verge
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A group of researchers have identified a gene implicated in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, a disease that attacks neurons in the brain and spinal cord. They identified the gene using funds from the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, which raised $115 million to benefit research on the disorder — which may mean Bill Gates got doused in freezing water for more than entertainment value.

The finding only applies to cases of ALS that are passed down through families; these are the minority of ALS cases, accounting for only 10 percent of patients.

The group, from University of Massachusetts Medical School's Project MinE, used the genomes of more than 1,000 people with ALS who had a family member who was also made ill by the disease; they were compared to the genomes of more than 7,300 controls. The mutant gene NEK1 that the scientists identified was observed in 3 percent of ALS cases, the scientists wrote. It appears to be involved in a lot of functions in the body, including DNA-damage responses and the shape and structure of nerves.


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This article was published on The Verge. A link to the original article can be found after the post.
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