WELP. 2014 sure was a hell of time, hey. Taylor Swift was gearing up to drop ‘1989‘ onto an unsuspecting public. ‘Guardians of the Galaxy‘ was tearing up the box office and taking Chris Pratt from a pudgy member of Parks & Recreation‘s supporting cast to one of the most bankable ripped dudes on the planet. And we were all temporarily entranced by the notion of pouring buckets of ice water over our heads.

The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge had everyone goading their mates into tipping ice cold blasts of H20 straight onto their bonces, spurred on by a wave of celebrity partakers. Hell, 50 Cent even used his to throw seven shades of shit at Floyd Mayweather and call him “illiterate.” Because 50 does what 50 does.

But, as it turns out, despite all the sideways-glancing and tut-tuting the fad drew from enemy-of-fun types who never saw a popular thing they didn’t hate, the movement did actually have a positive outcome: It raised some $100million globally for further research into the debilitating illness known as Motor Neurone Disease (or amyotrophic lateral scleroris, for those wondering where the ALS comes from).

And now, two years later, that money has been used to fund groundbreaking collaborative scientific research, which has now identified what could be a key gene in patients who develop and suffer from MND.

A group of global researchers, headed up by Dr. John Landers of the University of Massachusetts Medical School, have discovered the gene NEK1, which now believer to be linked to patients with MND after assessing a genome-wide search of 1,000 families with history of the disease.

Dr. Landers collaborated with Dr. Jan Veldink of the University Medical Centre Utrecht in the Netherlands, along with contributions from over 80 researchers in 11 countries across the world, representing the largest coordinated global MND research effort in medical history.

The identification of the gene is a significant development in MND research, and could put scientists and medical professionals on the fast track to developing new therapies that would assist people with the disease.

In a statement issued, Landers stressed the importance of the funds raised by the Ice Bucket Challenge, and lauded the global efforts of people to raise vital funds for research into a disease that is still something of a mystery to the medical sector.

“Global collaboration among scientists, which was really made possible by ALS Ice Bucket Challenge donations, led to this important discovery.”

“It is a prime example of the success that can come from the combined efforts of so many people, all dedicated to finding the causes of ALS. This kind of collaborative study is, more and more, where the field is headed.”

So hey! If you gave some cash to the cause during those precious few months a couple of years back, your donated dollars have resulted in some pretty exciting advancements in medical research!

And if you just tipped a bucket of icy water over your head without opening the wallet as well, at least you’ve got that video of a slightly younger you to look back fondly on.

What a time it was to be alive.

Source: WBJournal.

Photo: Robert Prezioso/Getty.