Turns out social media can be used for good!
Way back in the summer of 2014, everyone from Jennifer Garner and Ben Affleck (less estranged, at the time) to Bill Gates, Oprah Winfrey and Justin Bieber -- not to mention your aunt! Aunts on Facebook loooved the ice bucket challenge! -- were pouring buckets of water over each other's heads to raise money for ALS research.
Turns out, it helped: the ice bucket challenge lead to a "significant gene discovery,"
the ALS Association reports. That gene is NEK1, one of the most common genes that contributes to the disease.
The discovery was made by Project MinE and, via The New York Times
, was the "result of a global gene-sequencing effort involving 11 countries and 80 researchers." We're not technically scientists, but that sounds pretty impressive!
And while it is a big deal, the Times also notes it is not a cure:
"The discovery of NEK1 is significant but is not a breakthrough -- some 30 genes tied to the disease have already been identified -- according to Brian Frederick, executive vice president for communications and development for the ALS Association."
Still! Exciting news! Celebrate by re-watching all of the best ice bucket challenges:
And check out ET's very own Nancy O'Dell taking the challenge in the video below!