Medical 2-Faced Baby

Ivan Seeking

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A baby with two faces was born in a northern Indian village, where she is doing well and is being worshipped as the reincarnation of a Hindu goddess, her father said Tuesday.

The baby, Lali, apparently has an extremely rare condition known as craniofacial duplication, where a single head has two faces. Except for her ears, all of Lali's facial features are duplicated - she has two noses, two pairs of lips and two pairs of eyes. [continued]
http://www.redorbit.com/news/oddities/1333328/2faced_baby_is_hailed_as_an_indian_goddess/index.html?source=r_oddities

What, if anything, can or should be done to help this baby?
 

Evo

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That's unfortunate, a conjoined twin like that would be hard to say, physically, we'd need to know how the internal organs have developed, mentally, we'd need to see how the brain has formed, even then it's hard to say, we still see things every day in the brain that seem to defy all predictions.

It's hard for us to understand how some cultures fail to understand these deformities.
 

Andy Resnick

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Follow the wishes of the parent- do nothing:

"Singh said he took his daughter to a hospital in New Delhi where doctors suggested a CT scan to determine whether her internal organs were normal, but Singh said he felt it was unnecessary. (from the webpage)

There are going to be so many developmental problems for this kid- vision, smell, hearing, who knows what else, probably the most humane thing is to keep her comfortable until the inevitable.
 

Danger

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From the reports that I've seen, there aren't any immediate health issues. If she can eat through both mouths and breathe through both noses, her plumbing must be in decent working order. Apparently, at least, she isn't suffering the sort of social rejection that might be expected in some other cultures (like mine).
What I'm extremely curious about is how her brain processes visual information from 4 eyes (assuming that they are all hooked up). It must be confusing, since the 2 viewpoints don't coincide.
 

Moonbear

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Unfortunate that the parents won't allow a CT scan to check the organs. Even if she's fine now, it would be good to know if they need to anticipate future problems rather than wait for them to become critical.

If her abnormalities are limited only to her face and not causing her any discomfort, it's probably best to do nothing, at least at this young age.

Danger, that's a good question about whether all the eyes are functional. The nerves controlling eyeblink are different than the ones for processing visual information, so just because she's blinking in all 4 eyes doesn't mean she sees from them all. But that's also a good reason to wait until she's older to decide what to do. If reconstructive surgery becomes desirable to give her a more normal face, they'd want to preserve features that are the more functional ones if possible.

She would have a lifetime of surgeries ahead of her if they start messing around now, just to keep up with whatever growth they need to allow for the section of skull that would need to be reconstructed. If it's not causing her any problems, and she's being accepted by society in a positive way, rather than risk the pain of surgery, the blood loss and anesthesia for such a little one, why not wait until she's older to express her own wishes of whether she wants to go through with it?

And, if this is just one outward indicator of much more serious internal abnormalities that will keep her from living very long, why put her through the pain and stress to correct a facial abnormality rather than keeping her as comfortable as possible?
 
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Diprosopus, is really very rare in a live birth, mostly due to the other {Cardiac malformation for example} problems that arise with it. They do know what may cause it, a protein called Sonic the Hedge Hog{yes, from the game}.
Many years ago I was at the National Museum of Anthropology of Mexico City, they had several two faced figurines, called "The beautiful Lady of Tlatilco". Reminds me very much of this disorder.
If you watched the TV show some years ago, That's Incredible, a man, Chang Tzu Ping was shown on it. He also had two faces and was in his mid-40's.
 
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Moonbear

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Diprosopus, is really very rare in a live birth, mostly due to the other {Cardiac malformation for example} problems that arise with it. They do know what may cause it, a protein called Sonic the Hedge Hog{yes, from the game}.
Geneticists have all the fun! I know people that have discovered new things in the neurosciences and got chided by reviewers for cute names and were made to rename them. :grumpy:
 

Andy Resnick

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Diprosopus, is really very rare in a live birth, mostly due to the other {Cardiac malformation for example} problems that arise with it. They do know what may cause it, a protein called Sonic the Hedge Hog{yes, from the game}.
<snip>
That's interesting- Shh is implicated in many features of embryonic development, in conjuction with the primary cilia (embryonic patterning).

My favorite protein name (as of now) is "Smac Diablo". Good band name.....
 

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