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Kennedy Krieger Institute

Augusto Odone dies at 80; used 'Lorenzo's oil' to treat ailing son

Augusto Odone was a charismatic Italian economist whose job with the World Bank afforded a cosmopolitan lifestyle. But the important work he performed for impoverished countries paled by comparison to the job that began to consume him in 1984: saving the life of his gravely ill son.

That year, Odone's 6-year-old son Lorenzo was diagnosed with a fatal genetic disorder that doctors said caused the loss of voluntary movement and death within a few years.

Rejecting the grim prognosis, Odone and his linguist wife, Michaela, immersed themselves in medical journals to learn everything they could about the disease, adrenoleukodystrophy, or ALD.