One year ago, Sue Mingus participated in the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge in memory of her husband, Charles Mingus. A stunt that once seemed silly, now scientists say it paid for a breakthrough. The ALS Association says the ice bucket challenge raised $115 million in six weeks, and many participants have become repeat donors. Research led Johns Hopkins scientists focused on a protein called TDP-43 that in some circumstances is linked to cell death in the brain or spinal cord of patients. The scientists found that inserting a custom-designed protein allowed cells to return to normal. The research at Johns Hopkins on TDP-43 was already underway, but scientist Philip Wong says ice bucket money helped accelerate the work and allowed the team to conduct some high-risk, high-reward experiments that were critical to the outcome.