Do these conjoined twins share consciousness?
2012 06 11
By George Dvorsky | io9.com
Susan Dominus has penned a remarkable piece for the New York Times about Krista and Tatiana Hogan, the 4-year old conjoined twin girls from British Columbia who are attached at the head. Scans show that the two girls have brains that are interconnected by a never-seen-before "thalamic bridge," an indication that they might share conscious thoughts. And if their early behavior is any indication, this may very likely be the case.
Twins joined at the head, what’s referred to as craniopagus in the medical literature, are extremely rare occurrences, affecting only one in 2.5 million births. Most don’t survive. But the Hogan twins are an even rarer case yet. Their neural anatomy is something that has never been seen before by scientists: their scans reveal an attenuated line stretching between their two brains connecting each of their thalamus together. What makes this observation particularly interesting is that the thalamus happens to be a kind of neural switchboard, a two-lobed organ that filters most sensory input.
It’s also thought to play an important role in the rise of conscious awareness.
Thalamic nuclei have strong reciprocal connections with the cerebral cortex, forming neural circuits that are thought to be involved in consciousness. The thalamus also plays a major role in regulating arousal, levels of awareness, and activity.
For the Hogan twins, this raises the interesting possibility that they may share both sensory experiences and conscious thoughts. Susan Dominus, who spent a considerable amount of time with twins while researching the story, witnessed a number of occasions that strengthened this suggestion. There are also the results from scientific observation:
As fantastic as it sounds, there is little doubt in [neurosurgeon Douglas] Cochrane’s mind that the girls share some sensory impressions. When they were 2 years old, he performed a study in which Krista’s eyes were covered and electrodes were glued to her scalp. While a strobe light flashed in Tatiana’s eyes, Krista was emitting a strong electric response from the occipital lobe, which is where images are assembled. The test also worked when the girls switched roles. The results were not published, and some neuroscientists believe that this kind of test, which measures changes in brain activity beneath the skull, is imprecise in determining what region of the brain is at play; but most would agree that any response in the other twin’s brain suggests, at a minimum, connectivity.
Now that the girls are getting older, their family is starting to notice more and more of this kind of behavior. The girls use the word "I’ interchangeably, at times using it to refer to themselves as individuals, and at other times as a collective unit. In fact, they often behave as a single unit, often getting up simultaneously without uttering a word to one another and fulfilling a task like getting a cup of water. At the same time, they’re also prone to disagreements and fights. Sometimes they scratch away at the other girl’s face, and then have to console themselves after inflicting the shared pain. And there’s more:
The results of the test did not surprise the family, who had long suspected that even when one girl’s vision was angled away from the television, she was laughing at the images flashing in front of her sister’s eyes. The sensory exchange, they believe, extends to the girls’ taste buds: Krista likes ketchup, and Tatiana does not, something the family discovered when Tatiana tried to scrape the condiment off her own tongue, even when she was not eating it.
Read the full article at: io9.com
Photos: Top image via Gizmodo. Body image via NYT.
Two, United as One
Conjoined Twins: Twin Girls, A Medical Wonder
Also tune into:
Peter Russell - The Primacy of Consciousness
Penney Peirce - Super Consciousness & Dream Zones
Todd Campbell - Through the Looking Glass
Paul Levy - The War on Consciousness
Freeman - Robo-Sapiens, Transfer of the Soul, Urantia Book & All Things Blue
Lindy Cowling - Heart Energy & Changes in Mass Consciousness
Anthony Peake & Tom Campbell - Consciousness Creates Reality
Reclusive twins, 73, leave behind mystery in death
Separated at birth, Indonesian twins meet in Sweden
Photos reveal differences between twins (Gallery)
Twins born five years apart
Twins’ different DNA sparks parents’ divorce
Conjoined Twins, Abby & Brittany Hensel turn 16 (Video)
Nazi Mystery: Twins from Brazil (Video)
Twin Babies’ Secret Language? (Video)
Latest News from our Front Page
Sweden Recognizes Palestinian State; Israel Upset
2014 10 31
Sweden on Thursday became the biggest Western European country to recognize a Palestinian state, prompting a strong protest from Israel, which swiftly withdrew its ambassador from Stockholm.
The move by Sweden’s new left-leaning government reflects growing international impatience with Israel’s nearly half-century control of the West Bank, east Jerusalem and its blockade of the Gaza Strip. It also comes during increased ...
Fed-Backed Study: How to Brainwash Public into Fearing “Climate Change” Like Ebola
2014 10 31
$84K study seeks ways to make public fear "climate change and overpopulation"
The National Science Foundation is funding a study to determine how to brainwash the public into fearing “climate change and overpopulation” as if they were Ebola.
The NSF awarded an $84,000 grant to researchers at the State University of New York at Buffalo yesterday to figure out how to make ...
Brain decoder can eavesdrop on your inner voice
2014 10 31
As you read this, your neurons are firing – that brain activity can now be decoded to reveal the silent words in your head
TALKING to yourself used to be a strictly private pastime. That’s no longer the case – researchers have eavesdropped on our internal monologue for the first time. The achievement is a step towards helping people who cannot ...
6 Million Lies
2014 10 30
“If you do not specify and confront real issues, what you say will surely obscure them. If you do not alarm anyone morally, you yourself remain morally asleep. If you do not embody controversy, what you say will be an acceptance of the drift of the coming hell.” C Wright Mills.
I need to share information I have discovered ...
Google’s New Computer With Human-Like Learning Abilities Will Program Itself
2014 10 30
In college, it wasn’t rare to hear a verbal battle regarding artificial intelligence erupt between my friends studying neuroscience and my friends studying computer science.
One rather outrageous fellow would mention the possibility of a computer takeover, and off they went. The neuroscience-savvy would awe at the potential of such hybrid technology as the CS majors argued we have nothing to ...
|More News » |