Besides bringing us the joy of watching Chris Pratt experience the feeling of ice water going down his butt crack—which, make no mistake, is truly a delight—the Ice Bucket Challenge enacted some positive, scientific change. Back in the halcyon days of 2014, celebrities banded together to pour buckets of freezing liquid over their skulls to raise money for ALS research. It was such a ubiquitous trend that it was easy to forget the good intentions fueling it. Now, however, we know that it was all worth it.
The ALS Association announced earlier this week that NEK1, a new ALS gene, has been discovered through research conducted by Project MinE, which received some funding from the money raised through to the Ice Bucket Challenge. According to a press release, NEK1 “now ranks among the most common genes that contribute to the disease, providing scientists with another potential target for therapy development.” Lucie Bruijn, chief scientist at the association, noted in a statement:
“The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge enabled The ALS Association to invest in Project MinE’s work to create large biorepositories of ALS biosamples that are designed to allow exactly this kind of research and to produce exactly this kind of result.”
So something that provided silly entertainment also maybe changed the world a little bit. Let’s do more of that.