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EDGARTOWN, Mass. (AP) - The ice bucket stops with Obama.

Instead of pouring cold water over his head, President Barack Obama has poured it on the idea of becoming the highest-profile participant of the ice bucket challenge, a dare sweeping the nation that has raised nearly $42 million to support research into Lou Gehrig's disease.

The disease, also called amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS, attacks nerve cells and can lead to complete paralysis and death. Average life expectancy is two to five years after diagnosis, according to the ALS Association.

The challenge calls on people to post videos on social media of themselves dumping a bucket of ice water on their heads - or having someone else handle the chilly chore. They also have to publicly name others to do the same thing within 24 hours or donate $100 to the ALS Association. Many people do both.

Other well-known participants include former President George W. Bush, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Ethel Kennedy. The 86-year-old Kennedy family matriarch tagged Obama to participate after recently dousing herself at her family's Massachusetts estate, knowing that the president would be nearby on vacation.

Obama participated financially by donating an undisclosed sum, the White House said.

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