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Thread: The only surviving dicephalus

  1. #1

    The only surviving dicephalus

    http://www.mymultiplesclerosis.co.uk...ared-body.html

    Abigail and Brittany Hensel
    The Twins Who Share a Body
    Dicephalus (Two Headed) Conjoined Twins

    Abigail and Brittany Hensel are about to turn sixteen. They’ve shared every single moment of their lives, but it wasn’t a matter of choice. These twin sisters are joined for life.

    Abby: “We wanted to make this documentary so people wouldn’t always have to stare and take pictures because we don’t like it when they take pictures”.
    Hensel Twins
    The Hensel Girls

    Abby and Brittany were born with just one body between them. The only known surviving dicephalus conjoined twins. They’ve spent their lives in a small close-knit community, completely protected from prying eyes. The girls live on a farm in Minnesota with their younger brother and sister, Coty and Morgan, and their mother and father, Patty and Mike Hensel. As they reach sixteen, on the brink of womanhood, they decide to show the world what it’s really like to be joined for life.

    Every moment of their lives requires the twins to cooperate with each other, and they appear to be totally in sync, but that doesn’t mean they always agree. Brittany describes Abby as bossy and outspoken. Abby describes Brittany as having been shy but becoming more confident, she likes to take her time with things.

    Abby and Brittany were born on March 7th, 1990 and the fact that they were conjoined twins was a complete shock to everyone. Pre-natal scans had shown only one baby.

    Abby and Brittany had only a one in thirty million chance of surviving the first twenty-four hours. Their survival would all depend on how their organs were configured within their tiny body.

    Queen Charlotte Hospital in London specialises in the most complicated twin pregnancies. Professor Nick Fisk, of the hospital, has followed the case of Abby and Brittany since they were born. “I have never seen, previously, a set of surviving dicephalus twins, so they are extraordinarily rare and the only ones, to my knowledge, alive today. They have two separate hearts, one in each side of the chest, and each has it’s own set of lungs. The medial lung seems to be fused in the middle, as one might expect. This is consistent with an increasing degree of fusion as one moves down the body. Abby and Brittany had three arms at birth, but the third was a useless mid-line arm that didn’t function so it was removed when they were very young”.

    To the medical world, Abby and Brittany were an astonishing case, confounding all expectations of dicephalus conjoined twins. With their bodies so closely linked it was clear that separation was out of the question.

    Each twin controls their own half of the body and each twin has no sensation of touch from the arm of the other. Nobody really understands how this works in practice.

    At the age of twelve it was discovered that they had a life-threatening condition. Abby and Brittany’s rib cages were fused together and their spines were growing outwards rather than upwards. The girls had to undergo a major operation to stop their lungs running out of air. After being discharged from hospital they had gained two inches in height and were fit to live life to the full.
    Pelvic X-ray
    Pelvic X-ray

    Professor Fisk explains more “Their degree of motor coordination is really quite extraordinary, it’s not as good as you or I but it’s pretty amazing. How does that happen? There’s absolutely no degree of fusion of their spinal columns; they are completely separate. This can be seen in the X-ray of their pelvis. They have a single pelvis but two sacrum’s, which is the lower part of the vertebral column, so I don’t think anyone can explain how that happens”.

    After their sixteenth birthday they plan to do what every American teenager does, learn to drive. This will require a great deal of cooperation and coordination. Abby controls the legs so will operate the pedals, they each control their own arm so both will steer but no-one really understands how the visual information is processed.

    Who should get the driving licence? To solve this problem they each take the test and having passed, each receive their own driving licence.

    The family have always refused to have any non-essential tests carried out on the girls, despite great interest from the medical profession. While the girls are unique, the family wants to treat them just like everyone else.

  2. #2
    Senior Member Foolish Old's Avatar
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    Truly incredible on so many levels. I can appreciate that scientists are eager to learn from these girls. Their unique development suggests so many questions about how we work that beg investigation. At the same time, I respect their parents refusal to allow them to become subject to non-essential testing. Their responsibility is to facilitate their daughters opportunity to lead lives as close to the normal human experience as possible.
    Foolish

    "We have met the enemy and he is us."-POGO.

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  3. #3
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    Lightbulb

    Er, I can't be the only one interested in their sexuality. Do they have/share a single vagina? If so do they each have equal control of and sensation in that area of their bodies? Who decides what happens or may happen to that pus_, er, vagina? What if they went on a double date and were making out with their respective dates and one got real turned on and the other did not?

    It seems to me that the questions/mysteries of what these girls have in common sexually is at least as fascinating as all the other wonderful but relatively dry aspects of their incredible condition.
    "The world will not perish for want of wonders but for want of wonder."
    J.B.S.Haldane

  4. #4
    Senior Member fishin'guy's Avatar
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    I saw a special on these girls this last year, and they were driving at the time and were quite cute. Giggling and having fun with briother and sister, also they attend school and have normal routine with friends and all. Quite remarkable.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Juke_spin
    Er, I can't be the only one interested in their sexuality. Do they have/share a single vagina? If so do they each have equal control of and sensation in that area of their bodies? Who decides what happens or may happen to that pus_, er, vagina? What if they went on a double date and were making out with their respective dates and one got real turned on and the other did not?

    It seems to me that the questions/mysteries of what these girls have in common sexually is at least as fascinating as all the other wonderful but relatively dry aspects of their incredible condition.
    How could that not go through anyones mind? Gives a whole new meaning to having sex with your sister.

  6. #6
    They have two brains. I assume that they have two spinal cords that may join somewhere in the chest? Fascinating.

    Wise.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Foolish Old's Avatar
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    From the quote in post #1

    There’s absolutely no degree of fusion of their spinal columns; they are completely separate. This can be seen in the X-ray of their pelvis. They have a single pelvis but two sacrum’s
    Abby controls the legs
    Each twin controls their own half of the body and each twin has no sensation of touch from the arm of the other. Nobody really understands how this works in practice.
    Foolish

    "We have met the enemy and he is us."-POGO.

    "I have great faith in fools; self-confidence my friends call it."~Edgar Allan Poe

    "Dream big, you might never wake up!"- Snoop Dogg

  8. #8
    That's fascinating. Since they have two brains and therefore personalities, I wonder how they settle their disagreements and make compromises. It must be extremely weird.

    I'd like to know other things, but that's all I'll say for now.

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Foolish Old
    From the quote in post #1
    Ah, thanks. Makes sense. Wise.

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Wise Young
    They have two brains. I assume that they have two spinal cords that may join somewhere in the chest? Fascinating.

    Wise.
    Wouldn't most questions be answered by pathology on dicephalus calves?

    These girls are amazing. I saw their documentary. TWO very distinct personalities. And a couple of beauties also.
    Life isn't about getting thru the storm but learning to dance in the rain.

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