What is Motor Neurone Disease?
Motor neurone disease is caused by degeneration of the nerves that relay signals to muscles. It eventually results in paralysis. Why the nerve damage occurs is one of the great mysteries of modern medicine.
Donald Trump completes the Ice Bucket Challenge
Ice bucket challenge unlocks vital clues in mystery of motor neurone disease
ABC News – July 2016
International scientists are thanking the 'ice bucket challenge' for helping them achieve a medical breakthrough by raising millions of dollars for research into motor neurone disease.
• Ice bucket challenge helped to raise more than $3 million for research in Australia
• Three new genes were found that are involved in the disease
• Funded worldwide research that involved 30,000 people
The ice bucket challenge began in 2014 and involved thousands of people around the world pouring ice-cold water over their heads and posting the videos on social media. It didn't take long before celebrities, politicians, and athletes jumped on the bandwagon.
But there was a serious side to the challenge — it was created to promote awareness of motor neurone disease.
And scientists say a bit of fun has unlocked some vital clues for people living with the disease, also known as ALS. Dr Matthew Robinson, from the Brain Institute at the University of Queensland, said researchers had found three new genes that are involved in ALS.
"The hope is that as a result, we can better understand what these genes actually do," he said.
"And then hopefully we can better understand the ways in which we can treat this disease in the future."
The ice bucket challenge helped to raise more than $3 million for research in Australia, and hundreds of millions of dollars worldwide.
Dr Robinson said while people were critical of people dumping buckets of cold water over their heads, they did not necessarily understand what the challenge was about. "Any way in which the public can get involved to generate money that can support either patient care or research is going to be beneficial," he said.