The 2014 phenomenon that took your social feeds by storm, has led to a breakthrough for researchers studying Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS).
The gene, NEK1, can be linked to about 3% of those suffering with familial ALS which is transmitted via genetics. Sufferers of ALS slowly lose muscle control due to disintegration of motor nerve cells, responsible for communicating brain signals to muscles. There is currently no known cure, and life expectancy is not beyond five years after diagnosis.
Funds raised by the ALS Association, were granted to researchers to explore Project MinE, a databasing initiative that catalogues the genetics of over 15,000 samples against 20,000 healthy controls. Thanks to the Ice Bucket Challenge, the ALS Association was able to help bring the scope of Project MinE to the United States.