Soooooo maybe the Ice Bucket Challenge wasn’t so stupid, after all.
Okay, at times it definitely was that stupid, but the world’s collective obsession with pouring cold water on each other (then bragging about it on social media with a volume and ferocity previously only achieved by parents with new children, Dan Bilzerian, and anyone who has ever taken a vacation to Hawaii), has just funded a major breakthrough in ALS research. Recently, scientists from Johns Hopkins University announced that money raised by the millions of participants in the Ice Bucket challenge has funded an important discovery in how to treat ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, more commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease). The abstract of their research findings was published in Science Magazine, but for the few dunces out there who don’t understand science-talk, The New York Time’s Nicholas Kristof included a helpful simplification in his excellent op-ed celebrating slacktivism’s role in the ALS breakthrough:
The research focused on a protein called TDP-43 that in some circumstances is linked to cell death in the brain or spinal cord of patients. The scientists found that inserting a custom-designed protein allowed cells to return to normal.
The research team from Johns Hopkins University discusses the possible uses for this discovery (along with an obligatory ice water dousing) in this video:
— is pretty damn silly. But the heartwarming generosity of Ice Bucket Challenge participants has given hope to the thousands of people affected by ALS, and for the first time, the possibility of a cure.
So, this news has officially become the best thing to come from the Ice Bucket Challenge. But the second best thing is still pretty good.
Donations for ALS research, with or without getting cold water poured on your head, can be made here.