Tom Staniford: British cyclist can’t gain weight due to rare metabolic disorder

Tom Staniford, whose genetic mutation means he cannot put on weight
Tom Staniford, whose genetic mutation means he cannot put on weight.

A British cyclist who could not put on weight despite his best efforts to pack on the pounds has finally figured out what the problem is.

Tom Staniford, who cycled in last year’s Paralympics, suffers from MDP syndrome, which is caused by a gene mutation. The condition prevents his body from taking on fat, and is known to affect only eight people in the world.

Scientists describe the research that led to Staniford’s diagnosis in the journal Nature Genetics.

Staniford, 23, was born with a normal metabolism, but as he grew lost the fat around his face and body.

His miniscule body fat percentage means he is susceptible to injury and constantly suffers from sore feet. Fat levels in his blood are just as high as someone who is clinically obese. To add insult to injury, Staniford also suffers from diabetes. His hearing is also compromised due to the condition, so he is forced to use hearing aids.

Staniford said he hopes to enter more cycling events at future Paralympics and other competitions.


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