How much of human knowledge can be better ascribed to luck or simple deductions, whether expert or non-expert, rather than years of research by the learned?
Adrenoleucodystrophy (ALD) is a genetic condition that slows destroys the brains of boys, something to do with a build of fatty acids. The parents of one afflicted boy (Lorenzo) set about to find a cure after doctors told them there was nothing they could do to prevent certain death.
After doing their own research, the parents developed a combination of olive and rapeseed oil they thought may eliminate the fatty acids that is a signature of the disease. While it did reduce the fatty acid levels, it failed to improve their son’s condition, and he died yesterday.
However, due to the persistance of ALD expert Dr. Hugo Moser, they’ve discovered that Lorenzo’s Oil has some preventative effect on the disease. The substance has been given to boys whose genetics put them at risk for the disease. While there’s still a lot of work to be done–by the trained, there’s now hope–because of the untrained.