August 5, 2016
In 2014, former college baseball player Pete Frates turned the “ice bucket challenge” into an internet phenomenon. To complete the challenge, participants agreed to have ice water dumped on their heads or donate to ALS research, and then challenged others to do the same publicly via social media. Although the challenge raised awareness for the rare disease (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease), some derided it as slacktivism, providing more Facebook fodder than funds. The ALS association, however, reported that research donations increased by millions of dollars, with over $100 million resulting from the ice bucket challenge campaign directly. Now, researchers can point to an even greater result: the discovery of a new gene linked to ALS.