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German superbaby may help cure diseases

June 26, 2004 at 6:40 PM

BERLIN, June 26 (UPI) -- A genetic mutation has given a five-year-old child in Berlin, Germany, muscles twice the size of other kids his age and about half the body fat.

The child can lift 7-pound weights at arms length, a deed many adults find difficult, said Dr. Markus Schulke, a child neurologist who has been studying the boy since birth, the Deutsche Welle reported.

"He's a normal boy -- you don't see it, you wouldn't recognize him" out of a crowd, Schulke said. "He can just lift heavy things."

The child has a genetic mutation that blocks the production of a protein that limits muscle growth. It's the first known case of a human having such a mutation.

Schukle published his findings in the New England Journal of Medicine, saying the discovery might aid in the fight against muscle-wasting diseases such as muscular dystrophy.

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