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Genetic Mutation Turns Out a Super-Strong Child

June 25, 2004|From Associated Press

BERLIN — A genetic mutation has made a Berlin boy extra strong, but the German doctor who has been studying him since just after his birth says he's just a regular kid.

The boy, who is almost 5, doesn't stand out from other children on the playground, but he can perform feats of strength, said Dr. Markus Schuelke.

"He's a normal boy.... He can just lift heavy things," Schuelke said.

The boy, whose name Schuelke has promised not to divulge, has muscles twice the size of those of other children his age and half their body fat. He can hold 7-pound weights with arms extended, which some adults cannot do.

Schuelke found that the boy had a genetic mutation that boosts muscle growth.

The doctor wrote about the case in Thursday's issue of New England Journal of Medicine, where he said the discovery could help in the fight against muscle diseases.

The boy was born to a muscular mother, a former sprinter. Her brother and three other relatives also were very strong.

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