This is the second installment of my real-life superhumans series. I’m excited to share stories with you about disorders that have created real world super-humans. In this post, I will be discussing Myostatin-Disorder, a condition that gives the individuals affected super strength.
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What is Myostatin?
Myostatin essentially regulates muscle growth. It is a protein that is created by the MSTN gene in humans, and it helps to control the growth rate of muscles and tissues. This protein’s job is to ensure that muscles do not grow too large.
What is Myostatin-Disorder?
Myostatin-Disorder is a deficiency of the Myostatin protein. The condition is genetic and it is extremely rare. So rare in fact, that there are only a few known cases. Also referred to as Myostatin-related muscle hypertrophy, this condition can increase the muscle mass in individuals by twice the normal size. Muscle strength is also increased in affected parties.
Does this Condition have Negative Side Effects?
At this time, there looks to be no negative effects from the condition. The brain continues to function normally, and there are no known effects aside from increased muscle mass and strength. At one time doctors were concerned that the increased strength could lead to heart problems later in life, however, in the few cases studied this was not the case. Because the condition is so rare, there are not enough individuals to study. This means there is not enough data to completely rule outside effects, but the information currently available suggests there are no negative effects of the disorder.
Someday you could have Super Strength too
Researchers have found that blocking the production of Myostatin can, in fact, increase muscle mass. While trials have not been done on humans, scientists have tested dogs and pigs with promising results. While creating super-humans is likely not the desired end game for researchers, we could be looking at a cure to muscular dystrophy that stems from this protein. And who knows? Maybe we’ll create some new superhumans in the process.
A Notable Case of Myostatin-Disorder
Liam Hoekstra was diagnosed with Myostatin-Disorder at a very young age. By 5 months old he could do a difficult gymnastics move called the iron cross, and by 8 months old he was able to do a pull-up. His parents then took him to a specialist who confirmed that he in-fact had Myostatin-Disorder. By the age of 3 years old, he was 40% muscle mass. His parents rightfully try to keep him sheltered from the limelight, but there have been a few updates throughout the years. He’s playing Hockey, among other sports that showcase his strength.
What do you think?
Aside from the potential medical benefits for curing muscular dystrophy, should scientists be looking for ways to enhance your average human? Would you want to have super strength or enhanced athletic ability? Let me know what you think in the comments! If you’re interested in learning more about real-life superhumans, check out my post on Mirror-Touch Synesthesia.