Reviews and Reflections on Lorenzo's Oil - Medicine Essay Example

This is one of those films that sticks with us and there are scenes that I can never forget - Reviews and Reflections on Lorenzo's Oil introduction. Lorenzo’s Oil is one of the best movies I have seen. Movie is about miracle cure to Adrenoleukodystrophy that gave hope to thousands of young children suffering with Adrenoleukodystrophy (ALD). Movie is based on the true story of Augusto Odone, his wife, Michaela, their son, Lorenzo and their battle with ALD, a disease that attacks the central nervous system by systemically destroying the myelin sheath.

It is an extremely rare disease that is transmitted exclusively to males through a gene that is carried by the mother. Augusto and Michaela are well educated couple blessed with a little son named Lorenzo who was precocious beyond his age. Lorenzo can speak English and Italian and his native language spoken in Africa. When Lorenzo returned to the United States at the age of five and his behavior started to change like over aggressive. Later Lorenzo, diagnosed as victim of ALD, an incurable degeneration of the brain, is beyond the help of conventional medicine.

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Adrenoleukodystrophy is transmitted from parents to their children as an X-linked genetic trait. ALD is an inborn error of metabolism that causes the degeneration of the brain because of abnormally high level of fat in his blood, certain long-chain saturated fats . There is an enzyme that metabolizes these fats is defective in ALD patients. There is also liquefaction of white matter in the brain. This causes degeneration of the brain and the body loses its functions and death within two years of diagnosis.

No doctor is able to treat Lorenzo’s rare disease, that made Lorenzo’s parents to sought their own cure. They set out on a mission to find a treatment to save their child. In pursuit of their goal, Odones clashed with doctors, scientists, and support groups, who were skeptical that anything could be done about ALD, but they continued setting up camp in medical libraries, reviewing animal experiments, questioning top doctors all over the world, and even organizing an international symposium about the disease.

In the beginning Lorenzo was feed with the food that is deprived of a specific fat. But even after, Lorenzo’s fat levels are still rising. later Lorenzo parents tried to stop Lorenzo’s body from producing C24 and C26 by loading his diet with another kind of fat, one that’s less harmful, but this treatment also failed to improve the heath condition of Lorenzo . Lorenzo has a rare disease, it is not financially productive for pharmaceutical companies to invest millions on developing a cure.

Later Lorenzo’s parents feed Lorenzo with oleic acid and are only partly successful finally Lorenzo’s parents came to know a therapy involving adding a certain kind of oil (actually oil containing two specific long chain fatty acids), both isolated from rapeseed oil and olive oil. Then Lorenzo parents feed Lorenzo with this oil for six months Lorenzo’s blood levels are down to normal and the progression of the disease is also stopped . Lorenzo is able to communicate by using a modified sign language.

The story ends on a positive note as several children with ALD who have been treated with Lorenzo’s Oil are shown to be healthy. Watching this film is a life time experience. It can serve as a motivator for the research in chemistry, biology, neurology, and genetics. The movie is an excellent introduction to the medical research establishment and to the ethics of clinical trials. Lorenzo’s Oil teaches courage, persistence and that sometimes motivated people can achieve the impossible. The film explores some of the non medical problems like how difficult to get medicine into market for rare diseases.

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