Scientific study confirms potential of 'Lorenzo's oil'

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A VEGETABLE oil discovered by a couple whose son was dying from a rare genetic disorder and made famous in the film Lorenzo's Oil, can halt the disease and delay onset of symptoms in boys who have the gene, according to a study, writes Liz Hunt.

Critics of the film dismissed its 'upbeat ending'. However, the first detailed scientific study has confirmed what Lorenzo's father, Augusto Odone, has always known - that it is keeping his son alive. His story was first told in the Independent in October 1989. The new findings have also converted one of the 'foremost sceptics' of the oil's benefits. Hugo Moser, professor of neurology at the Kennedy Krieger Institute in Baltimore, Maryland, told an international medical conference in Edinburgh that ' . . .the data are strong enough to say that if I had a child (with this disease) I would put him on it'. Professor Moser has tested the oil, derived from rape seed, in 139 boys carrying the gene or with symptoms, and found that those taking it lived longer than those who did not, and the onset of symptoms was delayed in carriers. Lorenzo Odone was six when he developed adrenoleukodystrophy (ALD) in 1984. A defective gene causes a build-up of toxic fats in the blood which destroy the nervous system and result in eventual death in the early teens.