If you’ve been anywhere on social media recently, then you’ve probably heard of or seen a video of the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge.
Over the past few weeks, this challenge has gone viral on social media; prompting many celebrities, athletes and people of all ages to dump a bucket of ice water on themselves and donate to the ALS Association.
Meiering an expert in ALS has been studying the disease since 1998. Her research focuses primarily on the folding, aggregation, function and design of proteins such as superoxide dismutase, the causing agent of ALS. Mutations in this protein are unstable and Meiering proposes they are neurotoxic; resulting in the symptoms associated with ALS.
There is often a motor decline but no cognitive decline typically so people are aware of what’s happening,” says Meiering.
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS, is a neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord. It results in a loss of motor neurons which leads to the weakening of the muscles in the legs and arms, the slowing of speech, and difficulty breathing and swallowing.
The disease is 100 per cent fatal and currently there is no cure. At this point doctors can only slow down the progression of the disease for ALS patients.