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Those viral Ice Bucket Challenge videos made $115 million, helped find ALS gene

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Remember the Ice Bucket Challenge? It was your entire Facebook feed for the summer of 2014.

It drew a lot of criticism from people calling it "slacktivism" -- efforts at activism that wouldn't change anything. 

But apparently, it worked pretty well.

Money from Ice Bucket Challenge donations funded the discovery of a third gene responsible for Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, the ALS Association said in a release Monday.

ALS is a progressive disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord, eventually causing death. 

Lucie Brujin, one of the project's leaders, says the challenge allowed the group to get enough samples and data to pin the disease to a handful of genes. The most recent one is called NEK1. 

I'm incredibly pleased with the discovery of the NEK1 gene adding another step towards our ultimate goal, eradicating this disease...
Bernard Muller, leader of the project

The ALS Association received $115 million through the challenge, $77 million of which went directly to research. 

More feel-good news from Circa:

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