Sixteenth Birthday celebrations of Conjoined Twins, Abby & Brittany Hensel
Abigail "Abby" Loraine Hensel and Brittany "Britty" Lee Hensel (born March 7, 1990 in Carver County, Minnesota, US) are dicephalic parapagus twins, meaning that they are conjoined twins of whom each 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 woman having a separate heart, stomach, spine and spinal cord.
Each twin controls half their body, operating one of the arms and one of the legs. This means that as infants, the 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 quite separate actions that coordinate with the other. Abigail and Brittany are notable both for their rare physiology and for the many successes that they have achieved in overcoming this physical challenge in their individual and corporate lives.
Despite the curiosity that their condition has generated, the Hensel twins have managed to live private lives with relatively little press attention. At the age of sixteen, they gave an interview on The Learning Channel on December 17, 2006, in which they discussed aspects of their daily lives and plans for the future.