Movie and FactThe touching and well-made movie, "Lorenzo's...


January 27, 1993

Movie and Fact

The touching and well-made movie, "Lorenzo's Oil," unfortunately overstates the effectiveness of the oil and fails to mention side-effects.

I direct an ongoing five-year study of Lorenzo's oil, now in its third year, that involves 257 patients with adrenoleukodystrophy and is sponsored by the National Institutes of Health and the Food and Drug Administration.

In spite of our earlier hopes, the oil does not stop the progression of the illness in patients who are already symptomatic.

Completion of the study is required to determine whether it can prevent onset of disability in asymptomatic children; but preliminary data indicate that some of these children have developed symptoms while on the oil. Forty percent of patients develop a drop of platelet count that puts them at risk of abnormal bleeding.

Other recently developed forms of therapy may be more effective than Lorenzo's oil. It is unfortunate that the producers of the movie did not acquaint themselves with factual data that would have been available to them.

The second concern is that the motion picture includes an

inaccurate and malevolent caricature of a parents' organization, the United Leukodystrophy Foundation (ULF).

The organization has sponsored highly valued research symposia on the leukodystrophies at the University of Chicago, and it provided key support for investigations that lead to the isolation of the ALD gene, the successful accomplishment of which will appear in the scientific literature within the next few months, and will acknowledge support of the ULF.

Contrary to what is shown in the movie, the ULF had a key role in supporting the Lorenzo's oil therapy program. The topics of its meetings are selected in response to parents' wishes and are far different from what is depicted.

Hugo W. Moser, M.D.


The writer is University Professor of Neurology and Pediatrics at Johns Hopkins University.


Having been extremely critical in the past of The Sun's coverage of local government, I was thrilled to read your editorial "Evaluating Baltimore's Government" (Jan. 9).

Since moving to Baltimore six years ago, I have been continually amazed at the willingness of citizens and the media to accept mediocre performance from local government. Although Baltimore City doesn't have the financial resources of Montgomery County, it certainly could be doing a lot more with the resources it has.

Figures from "City And State" magazine, for example, show just one source of Baltimore's problem: staffing per 1,000 population in Baltimore far exceeds that of comparable cities around the country.

I hope that Councilman Lawrence Bell, The Sun and other opinion leaders will finally begin to hold elected officials and city staff to reasonable performance objectives. . . More money won't help if city officials manage it as poorly as they do current funds.

How about a series comparing the management of Baltimore City with other communities? "City And State" recently rated Phoenix No. 1. . . Baltimoreans will be better able to assess the performance of their city's leadership if they have a good point of

reference. It's The Sun's job to provide that.

Sharon Lawrence


Never Again

Mark S. Plank's Jan. 14 letter complaining that by printing a story about former GIs who were prisoners of war, The Sun is keeping alive anti-German hate propaganda, would be laughable it were not sad -- sad because Mr. Plank is so ill-informed about the verified history of World War II.

He accuses the United States government of committing "atrocities," but the only one he names is the fire-bombing of German cities. He does not mention (perhaps he does not know?) that this was done as a last resort, after Germany had ruthlessly overrun most of Europe, imprisoning or systematically slaughtering the civilian population, and had relentlessly bombed English cities (especially London) in preparation for invading and annexing Britain -- all because of the paranoid ambitions of "der Fuehrer" and his millions of adoring followers, who believed that Germany had a right to rule all of these countries.

I am not Jewish, but I am offended by Mr. Plank's sneering reference to "our persecuted Jewish brethren." Mr. Plank asks, "Were Jews the only people to suffer as a result of World War II?"

The answer, of course, is negative. Millions upon millions of Czechoslovaks, Poles, French, British -- and, yes, Americans -- of all religions suffered because of the arrogance of the German National Socialist Party.

I'm sure the former prisoners of war cannot easily forget World War II, nor can the soldiers who fought and perhaps still bear scars, physical or mental. Certainly bereaved wives, family members, friends and all who were alive during those horrible years will always remember, and hope that never again will the leaders in one country be permitted to involve the entire world in

a holocaust.

Mary W. Griepenkerl


Crime Epidemic Frustrates Citizens, Police

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