craniopagus twins

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Krista and Tatiana Hogan are craniopagus twins, meaning they’re connected at the head.

They share a structure that connects Krista’s thalamus to Tatiana’s. The thalamus is a double-lobed organ that plays important roles in processing sensory input and creating consciousness.

Since Krista’s and Tatiana’s thalami are connected, scientists and members of the Hogan family think the girls might view the world differently than the rest of us do.

For example, Dr. Cochrane believes the girls can see through each other’s eyes. He came to this conclusion after covering Krista’s eyes, placing electrodes on her head, and watched Krista’s brain respond after shining a light in Tatiana’s pupils.

Other times, one girl will be watching TV while the other is looking somewhere else. Suddenly, the twin not watching TV will start laughing at what’s happening onscreen.

Their “thalamic bridge” also affects their sense of taste. Krista is a ketchup fiend, but Tatiana hates the stuff. Once, Krista was eating ketchup, and Tatiana furiously tried to wipe it off her own tongue even though she wasn’t eating any ketchup herself.

Perhaps the strangest phenomenon of all is that the twins sometimes use the word “I” to describe both of themselves at once.

As of 2011, no one had run any conclusive tests on the girls and their odd condition. However, scientists who have observed their behavior and brain scans are flabbergasted and excited. While no one can say for sure at the moment, it really does seem Krista and Tatiana can share private thoughts and perceive what the other is sensing.

As someone who wants to study consciousness in the future, I can say this is one of the most extraordinary cases I have ever heard of. 

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Black history month day 22: Renowned neurosurgeon Dr. Ben Carson.

Benjamin Solomon “Ben” Carson Sr. was born in Detroit, Michigan on September 18, 1951. When he was eight, his parents separated and he moved with his mother and brother to his mother’s sister’s home. Carson’s mother struggled with severe depression, resulting in several psychiatric hospitalizations and an attempted suicide. She was however very involved with her sons’ education, limiting their time watching television and requiring them to read and write book reports on two library books per week.

Carson had dreams of being a doctor since he was eight. He did well in school and scored very highly on the SAT for the Detroit school district. When it came time to choose a college, he narrowed the choice between Harvard or Yale, but could only for the $10 application fee for one school. He chose Yale after seeing them win a televised G.E. college bowl against Harvard. He received a full scholarship. Later he attended medical school at the university of Michigan and was excepted into the neurosurgery program at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

Carson was the Director of Pediatric Neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Maryland from 1984 until his retirement in 2013. He was indisputably a pioneer in neurosurgery, his achievements including performing the only successful separation of conjoined twins joined at the back of the head, the first successful neurosurgical procedure on a fetus inside the womb, and the first completely successful separation of type-2 vertical craniopagus twins. He also developed new methods to treat brain-stem tumors and improved techniques for controlling seizures. At age 33 he became the youngest head of pediatric neurosurgery in the country. He has written over 100 neurosurgical publications and received numerous accolades, including over 60 honorary doctorate degrees, dozens of national merit citations, and the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian award in the United States.

Ladan (left and Laleh Bijani, the Iranian conjoined twins Dr Ben Carson and others operated on in an attempt to separate them in 2003

Ladan and Laleh Bijani, who were joined at the head, were twenty-nine years old when they decided to be separated. The separation of adult craniopagus twins had never been attempted because the outcome was almost certain to be death for both patients. Even Carson, ever the optimist, was not sure what the results would be. He tried to talk the two women out of surgery, but after many discussions with them, he agreed to move forward. Ladan and Laleh had law degrees, were extremely bright and, according to Carson, they knew exactly what was in store for them.

Carson and a team of more than one hundred surgeons, specialists, and assistants conducted the fifty-two hour operation on July 8, 2003, in Singapore. They used a 3-D imaging technique that Carson had developed for the Banda operation. The computerised images allowed the team to practice “virtually” before the operation and allowed them to follow a computerised reconstruction of the twins’ brains during surgery. Midway through the operation, however, complications set in, and Ladan and Laleh both died because of severe blood loss. 

Craniopagus twins Yvonne and Yvette McCarther were born in Los Angeles California to their mother Willa McCarther. Straight after birth, many people confronted her about the possibilities of offering the infants to perform in show business. The mother clearly declined these offers, but turned back on her word once she found she was too poor to pay for their hospital bills. After six months of touring with the circus, they gained enough money to pay off bills and take the children back home.

Later on into adult life, they spent their time as successful gospel singers and toured to various churches across the nation. The sisters grew to become very close and got along well. Although conjoined, interestingly enough they referred themselves as “I” as opposed to “we”.

Edward Mordrake

Edward Mordrake is a character of urban legend, who was according to the legend born in the 19th century and was heir to an English peerage, and who had an extra face on the back of his head. The duplicate face could not see or eat or speak out loud but was said to “sneer while Mordrake was happy” and “smile while Mordrake was weeping”. Mordrake repeatedly begged doctors to have his “demon face” removed, claiming that it whispered things that “one would only speak about in hell” at night, but no doctor would attempt it. Mordrake died according to the legend by committing suicide at the age of 23. 

Earliest reference: The first known description of Edward Mordrake is found in an 1895 Boston Post article authored by fiction writer Charles Lotin Hildreth. The article describes a number of cases of what Hildreth refers to as “human freaks”, including a woman who had the tail of a fish, a man with the body of a spider, a man who was half-crab, and Edward Mordrake. Hildreth claimed to have found these cases described in old reports of the “Royal Scientific Society”. It is unclear whether a society with this name even actually existed. Hildreth’s article, which also contained other fictional creatures such as the “Fishwomen of Lincoln” and the “Half-human half-crab”, was not factual and was probably published by the newspaper as fact simply to increase reader interest. 

In Anomalies and Curiosities of Medicine: The 1896 medical encyclopedia Anomalies and Curiosities of Medicine, co-authored by Dr. George M. Gould and Dr. Walter L. Pyle, included an account of Mordrake. The account was copied directly from Hildreth’s article. However, it was credited only to “lay source”. The encyclopedia describes the basic morphology of Mordrake’s condition, but it provides no medical diagnosis for the rare deformity. Such a birth defect might have been a form of craniopagus parasiticus (a parasitic twin head with an undeveloped body), a form of diprosopus (bifurcated craniofacial duplication), or an extreme form of parasitic twin (an unequal conjoined twin). 

As told in Anomalies and Curiosities of Medicine:

“One of the weirdest as well as most melancholy stories of human deformity is that of Edward Mordrake, said to have been heir to one of the noblest peerages in England. He never claimed the title, however, and committed suicide in his twenty-third year. He lived in complete seclusion, refusing the visits even of the members of his own family. He was a young man of fine attainments, a profound scholar, and musician of rare ability. His figure was remarkable for its grace, and his face - that is to say, his natural face - was that of an Antinous. But upon the back of his head was another face, that of a man. Some versions say that his ‘demon twin’ was female, but that is impossible as all parasitic twins are of the same sex. The ugly twin, 'occupying only a small portion of the posterior part of the skull, yet exhibiting every sign of intelligence, of a malignant sort, however’, would be seen to smile and sneer while Mordrake was weeping. The eyes would follow the movements of the spectator, and the lips ‘would gibber without ceasing’. No voice was audible, but Mordrake avers that he was kept from his rest at night by the hateful whispers of his 'devil twin’, as he called it, 'which never sleeps, but talks to me forever of such things as they only speak of in Hell. No imagination can conceive the dreadful temptations it sets before me. For some unforgiven wickedness of my forefathers I am knit to this fiend - for a fiend it surely is. I beg and beseech you to crush it out of human semblance, even if I die for it.’ Such were the words of the hapless Mordrake to Manvers and Treadwell, his physicians. In spite of careful watching, he managed to procure poison, whereof he died, leaving a letter requesting that the 'demon face’ might be destroyed before his burial, 'lest it continues its dreadful whisperings in my grave.’ At his own request, he was interred in a waste place, without stone or legend to mark his grave." 

In popular culture: Mordrake has been the subject of various texts, plays, and songs: 

  • Mordrake is featured as the "2 Very Special Cases” on a list of “10 People With Extra Limbs or Digits” in the 1976 edition of The Book of Lists
  • Tom Waits wrote a song about Mordrake titled “Poor Edward” for his album Alice (2002). 
  • In 2001, Spanish writer Irene Gracia published Mordake o la condicion infame, a novel based on Mordrake’s story. 
  • A US thriller film named Edward Mordrake, and based on the story, is reportedly in development. 
  • An intended release date has not been provided. Three episodes in the FX anthology series American Horror Story: Freak Show, “Edward Mordrake, Pt. 1” “Edward Mordrake, Pt. 2”, and “Curtain Call”, feature the character Edward Mordrake, played by Wes Bentley. 
  •  A short film based on the story of Mordrake entitled Edward the Damned was released in 2016 
  • “The Two-faced Outcast” - another novel about Edward Mordrake, originally written in Russian in 2012-2014 and published in 2017 by Helga Royston.

I had this crazy hella creepy idea for an au where Mabel and Dipper are craniopagus twins, conjoined twins being connected at the head.

They share the same thoughts, see through each others eyes (optionally), taste with the same mouth, smell with the same nose etc etc and don’t have any trouble walking around on foot. though Stan might like to keep them out of public.

eheh bits of the information is kinda exaggerated for the sake of it all looking cooler and being a creepy concept but yeah WOWHA HAOHAMAHBL