What's Ailing You: ALS challenge

This week's

This week's "What's Ailing You" looks the popular ALS Ice Bucket Challenge and what it has done to help fight the disease. (11/5/15)

CONNECTICUT - This week's "What's Ailing You" looks the popular ALS Ice Bucket Challenge and what it has done to help fight the disease.

The challenge took the Internet by storm last summer. Many people got swept up in the fun of it, which entailed getting a bucket of water dumped on one's head and posting a video of it on social media. Despite the funny videos, a local neurologist says the challenge has played a serious role in fighting ALS.

Dr. Peter McAllister, of the New England Institute for Neurology and Headache, says the social media sensation has been wonderful for research. He says $100 million has been raised as a result.

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig's disease, is caused by deposits of abnormal protein. McAllister says the disease robs patients of muscle control, including the ability to swallow and eventually breathe.

A big recipient of the ice bucket challenge is Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore. It has received $11 million for research.

Dr. McAllister says he's anxious for new ways to tackle the disease.

He says a company from Israel has made a protein capable of "sopping up" the abnormal protein deposits characterized by ALS. He says there are ongoing studies that aim to not just slow down the disease, but to reverse it.

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