conjoined twins


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conjoined twins,

congenitally united organisms that are complete or nearly complete individuals, historically known as Siamese twins. They develop from a single fertilized ovum that has divided imperfectly; complete division would produce identical twins, having the same sex and general characteristics. Conjoined twins remain attached at the abdomen, chest, back, or top of the head, depending on where the division of the ovum has failed. In some instances the individuals are joined only by a band of musculofibrous tissue and can be separated surgically, but in other instances they share vital organs and separation may not be possible. Sometimes an ovum divides in such a way that an organism develops having one body and two heads, or one head and two sets of limbs. About half of all conjoined twins are stillborn, and many die within a week or so of birth. When they do survive, fatal illness in one dooms the other unless separation is possible. The name Siamese twins derives from the most famous of conjoined male twins, Chang and Eng, born in Siam (Thailand) of Chinese parents in 1811. They were exhibited in Barnum's circus for many years; although never separated, they married and fathered a total of 22 children. They died within 2 hours of each other in 1874. See also multiple birthmultiple birth,
bringing forth of more than one offspring at birth. Although many smaller mammals bear several young at a time, multiple births are relatively uncommon in humans and other primates.
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References in periodicals archive ?
A spokeswoman for Great Ormond Street was unable to give statistics on the number of conjoined twins born but said their births were "extremely rare".
Conjoined twins, a rare phenomenon, is reported in 1 in 50,000 to 200,000 births.
Ms May and her fiance Dennis Smith, 33, from St Albans, Herts, told the newspaper that the conjoined twins, who they have already named Courtney and Natasha, will be born by Caesarean section at the end of April, when she is 37 weeks pregnant.
In the new season of FX's horror anthology series, which is subtitled "Freak Show," the actress, 39, is portraying the role of Bette and Dot Tattler, the conjoined twins with two heads.
Conjoined twins result from incomplete separation of monozygotic, monochorionic twins early in embryonic development, resulting in body parts of the otherwise normal twins remaining fused throughout development.
Conjoined twins who are attached only at the upper part of the skull are called craniopagus twins.
Given that most conjoined twins have not consented to surgery, and that surgical outcomes have been mixed at best, it is important to ask why these surgeries are performed so regularly.
Nearly 60 percent of conjoined twins are stillborn, but Brynleigh and Victoria Smith beat the odds when they were born about five weeks early at Wilford Hall Medical Center in July.
The twins' mother Laura Williams, aged 18, was the UK's youngest mother of conjoined twins and she and husband Aled refused to consider a termination despite doctors warning the babies might not survive.
THE Midland family of conjoined twin Faith Williams was coming to terms with her loss this weekend after the tot finally lost her brave battle for life.
Surgeons in Bangladesh said yesterday they were preparing to separate three-month-old conjoined twins despite similar attempts there in the past leading to the deaths of one or both children.
The story of the youngest woman to give birth to conjoined twins.