Nerve disease ALS: research success thanks to the Ice Bucket Challenge

Nerve disease ALS: research success thanks to the Ice Bucket Challenge

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"Ice Bucket Challenge" was successful: Researchers discover new genes
Around two years ago, the so-called "Ice Bucket Challenge" went around the world in a very short time. Thousands of buckets of ice water were poured out over heads - all for a good cause. The campaign was intended to raise money for ALS research. Researchers are now reporting on genes that they have discovered in this context.

Donations of the "Ice Bucket Challenge" made research possible
The "Ice Bucket Challenge" internet campaign, in which the participants took a shower with a video of ice water and campaigned to fight the rare nerve disease amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), was apparently successful. It is said to have raised around $ 220 million. Researchers have now found new gene variants that contribute to the disease in many cases. As John Landers said in a press release from the University of Massachusetts Medical School, the Challenge's donations made the research possible.

Scientists involved in eleven countries
The researchers reported on their results in the journal "Nature Genetics". "The study was only possible because of the cooperation of all the scientists involved," said Landers. According to the information, 80 researchers in 11 countries were involved in the study. Other participants also wrote about the results. For example, scientists from Australia also reported on their new findings in “Nature Genetics”. According to a statement published on ScienceDaily, Professor Naomi Wray of the University of Queensland said: “These three new genes open up new opportunities for research to understand a complex and debilitating disease that currently doesn't exist effective treatment. "

Incurable nerve disease
The nerve disease ALS, in which severe muscle twitching and severe swallowing problems occur, leads to damage to nerve cells. It is not curable and leads to death in about half of the patients within the first three years. Affected people only live with the disease for longer than a decade in exceptional cases. So far, the therapy has mainly focused on symptom relief and psychological support.

No donations for cruel animal experiments
A few years ago, however, US scientists reported in the journal "The Lancet" that the course of ALS could possibly be reduced by carbohydrates. When everyone was talking about the “Ice Bucket Challenge” in 2014, the association “Ärzte gegen Tierversuche” (Doctors Against Animal Experiments) called on the nominees not to donate to the ALS Association. This is because this would also finance cruel and nonsensical animal experiments from which ALS research would not benefit. (ad)

Author and source information

Video: Die Trying - The Battle For ALS Treatment VICE on HBO: Season 4, Episode 16 (July 2022).


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