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2-in-1: Conjoined twins

Conjoined twins are a rare occurrence. It happens when identical twins fail to separate from each other. Many theories have been proposed to explain this. The most widely accepted one suggests that certain stem cells fuse with each other. This most commonly affects the area from the upper to the lower chest.

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Brief history of conjoined twins

Few conjoined twins make it to adulthood, so these rare cases such as that of Chang and Eng, are well documented. Most of them encounter different health problems and don’t live past the age of one. In present times, the most famous conjoined twins are Abigail and Brittany Hensel. They are currently in their 20s, which is a medical miracle. They live normal lives, although they share the same body from the waist down.

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How many twins are born conjoined?

Unlike other congenital abnormalities, conjoined twins is a rare phenomenon, occurring only 1 in 50,000 to 100,000 births. It is more prevalent in some countries, such as the UK or Malta. The reasons behind this are not clear, but genetics play a big part.

Can and should conjoined twins be separated?

Find out if conjoined twins can be separated on the next page…

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