BREAKING: Study Shows Sudden Shock of Ice Cold Water Major Cause of ALS
ATLANTA, GA (SWP): Spokespersons for the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta say that Researchers at Grenada Medical School have discovered a common cause behind the mysterious and deadly affliction of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), or Lou Gehrig’s disease, that could open the door to an effective treatment.
Dr. Sarah Bellum, a neuroscientist with the Medical School and a leading researcher on the project, said the key to this breakthrough discovery is the recent availability of data from the massive wave of ice-bucket challenges spurred on social media networks. “We see exactly who the participants are and can follow up with them online.”
Dr. Bellum has been pioneering work on ALS for almost a month now since her graduation. But she has never had access to such a rich data set before. “We were surprised as anyone to note the correlation,” she said.
The data shows that the sudden shock of cold or freezing water, especially applied directly to the top of the head in front of a video camera can increase the chance of acquiring ALS significantly.
The discovery provides an opening to finding treatments for ALS and could also pay dividends by showing the way to treatments for other, more common neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s, dementia and Parkinson’s, according to a very ambitious Bellum.
“This is the first time we could connect ALS to a clear-cut mechanism,” Bellum said. “And it shows the dangers of Internet fads as well.”
There are critics of the research, including the entire ALS medical and scientific communities. They emphaticaly state that no case of ALS has been tied to dumping cold water on one’s head.
Bellum shrugs off the criticism asking, “what do they know?”
Her future research aims to look for genetic factors that drive people to take on any challenge just because they are dared to do so in a public forum like Facebook or Twitter. “It has something to do with self-esteem,” said Bellum. “They could quietly make a difference, but choose these displays instead. We’d like to know why.”