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The ice bucket challenge just paid off big time

Benedict Cumberbatch did it. Bill Gates did it. Then, in the short space of the summer of 2014, your mum, dad, Aunty Pat and some guy you'd not spoken to since 2003 were all posting their own Ice Bucket Challenge videos on Facebook, inviting people to douse themselves in cold water in return for a charitable donation. 

Many scoffed, some even mocked, but the viral charity phenomena has just scored a huge victory: research funded by the Ice Bucket Challenge has helped scientists discover a gene that directly contributes to motor neurone disease (referred to as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis in the US). 

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