Monday, November 24, 2008

Lorenzo's Oil

We are watching this film for two main reasons.

First, the movie is a great example of how science works. It shows how people use science to create solutions by identifying a problem, testing hypotheses, reviewing scientific literature, doing experiments, analyzing data and drawing conclusions.

The other reason we are watching is to learn a bit about the nervouse system and the biology of how enzymes and organic molecules such fatty acids are crucial to our health.

As you watch Lorenzo's Oil answer the following questions, and come up with some questions of your own.

1. Lorenzo begins to experience problems at school and at home. What symptoms of the disease first appear?

2. What medical tests are done to try to diagnose Lorenzo’s condition?

3. When the doctor finally diagnoses Lorenzo’s disease, how does he describe Lorenzo’s prognosis to Michaela and Augusto?

4. From which parent did Lorenzo inherit his disease?

5. Explain what kinds of molecules are causing Lorenzo’s disease:

6. What is myelin?

7. Explain how damaged myelin could cause Lorenzo’s symptoms.

8. When the Odones enroll Lorenzo in the first study, what kinds of foods is Lorenzo NOT allowed to eat?

9. When Lorenzo does not get good results from the diet in this study, what do Lorenzo’s parents believe might be happening? Describe what Augusto means when he uses the analogy of a sink with two faucets.

10. How does taking “Lorenzo’s Oil” stop Lorenzo’s symptoms from getting worse?

11. Once Lorenzo in on “Lorenzo’s Oil” why doesn’t he regain many of the abilities he had before he got the disease?

12. Describe at least three things that Lorenzo’s parents did to try to find a cure for adenoleukodystrophy even though the doctors said there is no cure for it?

13. This movie is based on a true story. The real Lorenzo lived much longer than the doctors predicted. In fact, he died in 2008 the day after his 30th birthday. What do you think about what Michaela and Augusto Odone did for their son and the other boys who suffer from ALD?

14. Michaela and Augusto were not doctors or professional scientists. What skills and attitudes did they have which enabled them to help their son?

15. Write a short movie review: Explain why and how much you liked or disliked the movie. Would you recommend the movie to a friend? Do you think the movie was appropriate for a high school biology class?

For more information about ALD and Myelin go to the Myelin Project at

1 comment:

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