Published: 02-09-2014 15:26 | Updated: 05-09-2014 19:05

KI-researchers take on the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

Bill Gates has done it, George W Bush has done it and many of your friends have also done it – poured a bucket of ice water over themselves. All with the aim of drawing attention to ALS research. On Monday, a team of ALS researchers at Karolinska Institutet did the same thing – and also took the opportunity to nominate both Minister for Health and Social Affairs Göran Hägglund, First Aid Kit and Vice-Chancellor Professor Anders Hamsten.

It's called the “ALS ice bucket challenge” and has spread like wildfire across social media. The challenge is to pour a bucket of ice water over yourself and thereby draw attention to research on amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, ALS, a relatively rare neurodegenerative disease with a survival rate of 2–3 years following diagnosis.

In connection with the freezing cold ice bucket challenge, you can also donate money for the benefit of ALS research.

On 1 September, ALS researchers at Eva Hedlund's research lab, together with several KI colleagues in the same field, were drenched in ice-cold water. Afterwards they were wet but happy, and the whole thing was documented on YouTube.

“It was not as cold as I thought it would be,” says Eva Hedlund with water dripping from her hair and face.

She and her lab colleagues at the Department of Neuroscience will also be donating money (USD 10 each) to the Thierry Latran Foundation that raises money for ALS research. According to Eva Hedlund, the “ice bucket challenge” has so far resulted in over USD 100 million in donations to various ALS foundations worldwide. She and her colleagues also hope to be able to contribute, through their research in the field.

They are not the first ALS researchers to accept the ice bucket challenge. Nor will they be the last to take the challenge. Their hope now is that both Minister for Health and Social Affairs Göran Hägglund, First Aid Kit and KI's Vice-Chancellor Anders Hamsten will participate.

“You can always choose to pour a bucket of ice water over yourself or donate money to research. Or you can do both,” says Eva Hedlund.

Later in the same week, a team from the Department of Medical Biochemistry and Biophysics also took on the challange. You can watch their video here.

Text: Madeleine Svärd