By now, you’ve probably seen one billion of these ALS Ice Bucket Challenge videos. They’re so ubiquitous it’s almost annoying. If you haven’t participated in one of these challenges, you’ve most certainly seen one of your friends, roommates or family members dump a bucket of ice or ice cold water over their heads and challenge friends to do the same.
One of my personal favorites is this one with Kate Upton and MLB Pitcher-Boyfriend Justin Verlander, of the Detroit Tigers.
LEARN MORE ABOUT ALS
The Ice Bucket Challenge has been a fun and engaging use of viral marketing to draw awareness and funds to research the incurable disease ALS. But many are skeptical, wondering if participation in this challenge has actually stimulated any thought capital on the topic. What’s interesting is that no one actually challenges people to donate to ALS research, only to continue the meme. Though it’s pretty obvious that the meme has had the desired effect, raising a reported $10 million by August 16, 2014.
But what exactly is ALS? The disease, commonly known as “Lou Gehrig’s Disease,” stands for Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis and it affects the nerve cells in the brain, motor cortex and spinal column. Essentially what happens is the neurons in these cells become inactive and as these neurons degenerate the brain loses its ability to initiate and control movement.
WHAT DOES THE DISEASE DO?
As the neurons deteriorate, the muscles are no longer nourished, hence “amyotrophic,” in which the “a” means “no” or “negative,” “myo” stands for “muscle,” and “trophic” relates to nourishment. When the muscles are un-nourished, they atrophy and waste away. This affects the “lateral” areas of the spinal cord and the “sclerosis” is another word for scarring or hardening of the spinal cord where the nerves are withering away. The nerves that are affected if you have ALS are nerves responsible for voluntary muscle movement in the arms and legs.
IS THERE A CURE FOR ALS?
As of this time there is no cure or treatment, however there are methods that physiologists and biologists have identified which have been observed to slow the progression of ALS onset. The most effective pharmaceutical deterrent of ALS is called riluzole, and this drug was recently approved for clinical use by the FDA, while still several others are undergoing clinical trials. We have heard several success stories from people who have used the DaVinci Vaporizer for help administering cannabis for relief of ALS symptoms.