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Can someone explain the neuroscience conjoined twins?

by Jamin2112
Tags: conjoined, explain, neuroscience, twins
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Jamin2112
#1
Mar24-13, 11:56 PM
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Twins conjoined at the head
Brains conjoined, thalamus connected
They are aware of each other's thoughts
They can see out of each other's eyes
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YWDsXa5nNbI

What the heck? Someone explain this. I'm having major cognitive dissonance trying to fit this into my worldview.
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Drakkith
#2
Mar25-13, 12:32 AM
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Not sure what to tell you. What about it didn't you understand?
Evo
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Mar25-13, 12:32 AM
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Quote Quote by Jamin2112 View Post
Twins conjoined at the head
Brains conjoined, thalamus connected
They are aware of each other's thoughts
They can see out of each other's eyes
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YWDsXa5nNbI

What the heck? Someone explain this. I'm having major cognitive dissonance trying to fit this into my worldview.
No, I doubt are not aware of each other's thoughts and they cannot see out of each other's eyes. This is all speculation. I'll be surprised if future testing once they get older will substantiate what the mom thinks. Maybe I'll be wrong, but it's not unusual for babies to sense things and appear to have miraculous reactions to other babies near them.

Jamin2112
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Mar25-13, 12:36 AM
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Can someone explain the neuroscience conjoined twins?

Quote Quote by Drakkith View Post
Not sure what to tell you. What about it didn't you understand?
The science behind it. The video says they have a connected thalamus, but I don't know what that means. My understanding from the video is that we have two different "persons" whose brains are conjoined and so they can essentially file-share info.
Jamin2112
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Mar25-13, 12:37 AM
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Quote Quote by Evo View Post
No they are not aware of each other's thoughts and they cannot see out of each other's eyes.
The mom thinks they are aware of each other's thoughts. That they can see through each other's eyes is undoubtedly true, though it might be more accurate to say that each one can process the visual info from the other.
Evo
#6
Mar25-13, 12:46 AM
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You might be interested in reading about Lori and Reba, they are also craniopagus conjoined twins sharing 30% of their brains.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/3674453.stm
mathal
#7
Mar25-13, 01:05 AM
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The two girls are in a sense separate entities in that their bodies are separate -BUT both girls perceive both bodies, hence they are one 'whole' in a perceptual sense with two minds. The real separation is in the aspects of the brains of each girl that are unique. Each has already begun to develop a separate 'personality', a way of assimilating the perceptions of the 'whole' from their own perspective.
Each person's way of being is a matter of choice. In the case of co-joined twins, especially ones sharing as much as these two do, their lives will necessarily be co-joined.
I doubt that they will have any problem accepting who they are. It is the 'average' or -my euphemism- 'bubble baby' humans that will have problems accepting 'alien' AKA 'foreign' perspectives.

mathal
mathal
#8
Mar25-13, 01:41 AM
P: 71
To Evo,
just a quick note, I watched the clip again and just at the end the mother makes a reference the the test where the eyes of one child were kept closed and EEGs registered response to the flash of light in the other girls open eyes. This response is indicative of a neural connectivity equally seen in the other tests shown on the clip. The mother is right in saying their connection is greater than other inter-cranial co-joined twins but 'thought' is clearly a personal matter that I am sure we both agree is not capable of transference/translation -mind to mind.
mathal
p.s. an afterthought- almost lost it -memory going- the girls were talking to each other to convey what they wanted the other mind to do not 'thinking' the message through.
Ryan_m_b
#9
Mar25-13, 08:56 AM
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With only these two as an example there is a dearth of research on the matter but here is a paper on the subject that features the twins.:

Craniopagus: Overview and the implications of sharing a brain
Jordan Squair
http://prophet.library.ubc.ca/ojs/in...ad/2521/182422
ManFrommars
#10
Mar25-13, 11:05 AM
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Quote Quote by Jamin2112 View Post
What the heck? Someone explain this. I'm having major cognitive dissonance trying to fit this into my worldview.
You may be interested in patients with split brains too, then: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZMLzP1VCANo


The thalamus relays a lot of sensory information to higher brain areas, so it makes sense that, if their thalami are connected, then they will receive a certain amount of sensory information from the other twin's body in their higher brain areas (i.e. where consciousness happens). Though of course it could be the case that, though the thalami are joined into one entity, there aren't actually many connections between neurons there, so it's difficult to say from gross anatomy how it should affect their sensory perception and thought. It will be very interesting to see what happens later in development - over the course of adolescence, the brain gets rid of a lot of connections between neurons, so I wonder how this will affect the connection between the two brains.

Consciousness is an odd thing...
Ygggdrasil
#11
Mar25-13, 01:05 PM
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The amazing thing about the human brain (and the brains of other higher mammals) is that most of the wiring to interpret and convey signals is not genetically pre-determined, but rather forms in response to the simuli it experiences. For example, there is nothing that predetermines the visual circuitry to receive input from only two eyes. If you take mice and deprive them of any visual stimuli after birth, the circuitry in their brain for interpreting visual stimuli will not develop properly. So, if an individual is born with one brain connected to two sets of eyes, the visual processing areas of the brain will wire itself to be able to process the signals from all four eyes.
DiracPool
#12
Mar26-13, 02:16 AM
P: 534
Wow, this is really interesting stuff. I just hope the girls remain healthy and they and the mom remain amenable to a continued longitudinal study of their development. The potential window into development of consciousness and cognition here is unrivaled and rare. I haven't looked into yet further than just the video, but I couldn't have invented a more interesting cog-neurosci experiment...Two conjoined twins sharing only a thalamus. Unimaginable.

The one interesting thing that immediately struck me in the video was the locomotion these girls displayed. It almost looked like a three-legged race. It did look like a single brain was coordinating the global movement. I'm not an expert on conjoined twins, but I haven't seen other twins of this sort coordinate their movement in that way. I think the light and pain tests they show in the film confirm that the joined thalamus is indeed sending cross signals to each girls cortice. What is most going to interest me about these girls is going to be their language development. I can't imagine how that is going to play out.
Evo
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Mar26-13, 10:17 AM
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Quote Quote by DiracPool View Post
Wow, this is really interesting stuff. I just hope the girls remain healthy and they and the mom remain amenable to a continued longitudinal study of their development. The potential window into development of consciousness and cognition here is unrivaled and rare. I haven't looked into yet further than just the video, but I couldn't have invented a more interesting cog-neurosci experiment...Two conjoined twins sharing only a thalamus. Unimaginable.

The one interesting thing that immediately struck me in the video was the locomotion these girls displayed. It almost looked like a three-legged race. It did look like a single brain was coordinating the global movement. I'm not an expert on conjoined twins, but I haven't seen other twins of this sort coordinate their movement in that way. I think the light and pain tests they show in the film confirm that the joined thalamus is indeed sending cross signals to each girls cortice. What is most going to interest me about these girls is going to be their language development. I can't imagine how that is going to play out.
Are you familiar with the twins Abigail and Brittany? Although each girl only has on leg and one arm, they can walk, run, ride a bycycle, swim, drive, etc... It is truly amazing.

Abigail Loraine Hensel and Brittany Lee Hensel (born March 7, 1990) are dicephalic parapagus twins, meaning that they are conjoined twins, each of whom 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 has 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, 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 separate actions that coordinate with the other.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abigail...rittany_Hensel
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abby_and_brittany.jpg  
Ryan_m_b
#14
Mar26-13, 10:25 AM
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Quote Quote by Evo View Post
Are you familiar with the twins Abigail and Brittany? Although each girl only has on leg and one arm, they can walk, run, ride a bycycle, swim, drive, etc... It is truly amazing.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abigail...rittany_Hensel
Not to mention they can drive. Although its strange that they had to take two driving tests considering they are both driving.
Hush
#15
Mar28-13, 08:39 PM
P: 16
The only aspect I am able to grasp are the twins acoustical world. Take a look at the 'xylophones'.
http://www.positscience.com/brain-re...-hearing-works
This is called tonotopy.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tonotopy

Everyone shares this common tonotopy and the differences arising from structures are minimal. You can sure be everyone 'hears' the same thing until of course such information reaches the brain(s) where the process to distribute (and store) this information is as unique as the brains processing the information - everyone assigns their own associations to the same physical phenomena.

You can 'close' the hearing of one of the twins and the other twin's ears will become the perfect substitute.
The twins have double 'awareness' - the senses are doubled. A single brain with double the sensory input will take this in stride - nothing unusual as far as a single brain is concerned.

My world as far as the twins are concerned remains intact taking the twins and their heighten experiences in stride. We - my twin and I - started out with less - without co-union. We shared less than the twins reported here.
Jamin2112
#16
Apr1-13, 01:24 AM
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What about this baby with no brain? Is it conscious?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WMlVNFpzKNI
mazinse
#17
Apr1-13, 07:38 PM
P: 190
Quote Quote by Jamin2112 View Post
What about this baby with no brain? Is it conscious?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WMlVNFpzKNI
The news is very misleading. The kid obviously has a brainstem, which is needed for respiration. The eyes, tongue and mouth move so some of the cranial nerves work. The information process part is probably not functioning but who knows.


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