Conjoined Twins, Abby & Brittany Hensel Turned 22 In Minnesota, USA
Wednesday, 18 April 2012 15:35
Abigail "Abby" Loraine Hensel and Brittany "Britty" Lee Hensel (born March 7, 1990) are dicephalic parapagus twins, meaning that they are conjoined twins of whom each has a separate head, but whose bodies are joined. They are highly symmetric, giving the appearance of having just a single body with little variation from normal proportion. In fact, several vital organs are doubled up, each twin having a separate heart, stomach, spine and spinal cord.
Each twin controls her half of their body, operating one of the arms and one of the legs. This means that as infants, the initial learning of physical processes that required bodily coordination, such as clapping, crawling, and walking required the cooperation of both children. While each is able to eat and write separately and simultaneously, activities such as running and swimming must be coordinated and alternate symmetrically. Other activities as diverse as brushing hair and driving a car require that each twin perform a sequence of quite separate actions that coordinate with the other.
Despite the curiosity that their condition has generated, the Hensel twins have managed to live private lives with relatively little press attention. At the age of 16, they gave an interview on The Learning Channel on December 17, 2006, in which they discussed aspects of their daily lives and plans for the future.
Upon their birth, their parents rejected the option to attempt surgical separation after hearing from doctors that it was not likely that both girls would survive the operation. As the girls grew and learned to walk and develop other skills, the parents confirmed their decision against separation, arguing that the quality of life for the surviving twin or twins living separately would be less than their quality of life as conjoined beings.
The Hensel twins both successfully passed their drivers license exams, both the written and driving tests. They had to take the tests twice, once for each twin. Abby controls the pedals, radio, heat, defogger, and other devices located to the right of the driver's seat, while Brittany controls the turn signal and lights; together, they control the steering wheel.They both graduated from high school in 2008. They began college at Bethel University in St. Paul, Minnesota, USA.
Few days ago they celebrated their 22nd birthday, though it was low keyed.