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Research is a “methodical investigation into a subject in order to discover facts or

revise or establish a theory, or to develop a plan of action based on the facts discovered,”

according to MSN Encarta Dictionary. There are more than just the investigations in a research

and discovering facts. In proper research, it included series of steps that is known as Scientific

Method. Scientific method includes generating problem, conduct research, stating hypothesis

based on the literature review, testing the hypothesis through experiments, collecting data,

analyzing the data to observe what they reveal, and lastly draw conclusion that answer the

question. However, research doesn’t stop there. A researcher may repeat all the steps in order to

have the same results that may conclude the research is valid. An example of research study was

depicted in a film titled “Lorenzo’s Oil,” based on a true story. Lorenzo Odone was diagnosed

with rare ALD (Adrenoleukodystrophy). At that time, there were no cures or any treatment that

was available for this disease. With this horrible news, Lorenzo’s parents, Augusto and

Michaela Odone, went on research to find the answer. His actions epitomize the series of steps

for proper research.

A proper research is done through series of steps grouped as Scientific Method.

The first step of Scientific Method is the problem or generating the problem. When Lorenzo

Odone was diagnosed with ALD, it epitomized the problem: the first step of the scientific

method. After discussing the problem with the doctors, and they were told that there are no

treatment for this disease. Upon hearing the devastating news, they sought to find answer on

their own. They were explained by the doctors that in ALD patients, the level of saturated fat is

too high because of the faulty enzymes from the transfer of gene from the mother. The saturated

fat is poses danger to one’s health that is destroying the white matter of the brain and destroying

the myelin of the nerve cells. That causes impulses to travel through the axon fail, and eventually
paralyzes the patient. The Odone parents questioned, what are the ways to decrease the level of

saturated fat in a patient?

They were asking questions and stumbled upon a professor who was working on

ALD treatment based on diet. He proposed that if by lowering the intake of saturated fat from the

food, it may slow down the deposit of those fats in the brain and thus slowing down the

symptoms. This epitomizes the step of proposing hypothesis based on the research that the

professor conducted. However, that didn’t come in any help. Despite decrease the intake of c-24

and c-26 saturated fat, the harmful fat still increased. The experiment of the hypothesis didn’t

work as expected. Therefore, the parents went back to performing literature review to understand

the biochemistry and how the disease works. Michaela Odone stumbled upon an article which

stated the concept of manipulation of biosynthesis. The concept was in insert different and

harmless fatty acids(c-18 and c-22) that may lower the production of c-24 and c-26 by

biosynthesis. The parents found out that oleic acids without the saturated fat may help in this

situation. This oleic acid was experimented on Lorenzo. This again exemplifies the step of

literature review and performing experiments to test the hypothesis that was proposed.

Over the course of time, data of level of saturated fat in Lorenzo was collected. In

the movie, the father even graphed the level of saturated fat. This shows the process of collecting

data and presents it to draw conclusion. They drew conclusion that oleic acid did lower the

saturated fat but only by 50%. That wasn’t adequate. Therefore, they started asking questions

and researching again. They went through the literature of enzymes and biosynthesis to

understand the relationship between the fats from oleic acid and saturated fat. They have

discovered that they are synthesized by same enzyme. That means that if somehow they can

distract the synthesis of saturated fat by introducing a different type of fat that is c-22 with the
mix of c-18 from oleic acid(“triglyceride forms of oleic and erucic acid”) , it can lower the level

of saturated fat. They have hypothesized on their research is that if c-22 from rapeseed oil can be

introduced in Lorenzo, and then it will slow down the synthesis of saturated fat because both fats

are synthesized by same enzyme. This again shows the example of making hypothesis based on

research. This is one of the processes of doing research. Lorenzo’s parents were partially

unsuccessful with Oleic acid. Therefore, they went back to research again to study more and

came up with plausible hypothesis. Then, they tested on the sister of Michaela Odone, who is

also a carrier of the ALD disease. Over the time, the Mr. and Mrs. Odone collected data, and

they observed the normal level of saturated fat. Then, they experimented on Lorenzo. The same

expected result came as well. Then, they were able to conclude that the oil did work and

supported the hypothesis. This again shows a process of analyzing data and drawing conclusions.

The Odone’s collected data from Lorenzo’s blood work and analyzed to see if the hypothesis

was supported. This is one of the processes of scientific, which is to analyze the data and draw

valid conclusion. This process was depicted by Lorenzo’s parents.

The movie “Lorenzo’s oil greatly depicts the process of doing research that

includes different steps of scientific method such as generating the problem, doing immense

amount of research, basing hypothesis on the research, experiments to find data that may support

the hypothesis and draw valid conclusion. This movie was shown for students to understand the

process of research. The movie implied many of the processes that researchers like the students

in the class that are needed to understand. The students need to understand the process of

generating ideas and questioning despite the all odds. Student must also understand the process

of researching in great amount in order to comprehend the problem, and propose a tentative

hypothesis. The movie was also shown because students need to understand the time factor in
research. The students need to understand that for researching, it requires time and various

amount of work. For example, how the Odone’s went through spending days and weeks in

library and researching to find answers. Success will not come over night. However, if

somebody is encouraged enough, they are willing to go the extra mile just like Mr. and Mrs.

Odone did. That relates to another reason why the movie was shown: to provide extra encourage

and reasons why researching is so vital to scientific community. The movie epitomized that

research is done for several reasons, and they are to find the truth and gain knowledge. Out of all,

the movie also suggested that research is done for helping the world and helping humanity. Both

the scientists and Michaela Odone suggested that “science is in the service of the people.”