Unique conjoined twins who share a brain can understand each other's thoughts without speaking

Unique conjoined twins who share a brain can understand each other's thoughts without speaking

Krista and Tatiana Hogan are making scientists question everything. They share the senses of touch and taste and can even control one another’s limbs.

Craniopagus twins are conjoined at the head and are extremely rare—one in every 2.5 million. Most of them can not even make it to 24 hours of life. But Krista and Tatiana did. Born in Vancouver, British Columbia on October 25, 2006, as reported by CBC News, the girls continue to surprise researchers with their unique abilities.

They have distinct personalities; one of the girls is very assertive, while the other is quite gentle. But they have something in common—their brains are joined by a thalamic bridge. Their unusual brain architecture allows the twins to connect their brains which the doctors call a "thalamic bridge", as per The New York Times. The thalamus is a region of the brain associated with sense, motion, and consciousness. The neurologist, according to the Times, believes that the thalamus of one child is linked to the other. 



The twins could never be separated due to the risk of serious injury or death as per a CT scan. But Krista and Tatiana are unique when it comes to their sensory and motor abilities. Tatiana can see through both of Krista's eyes, while Krista sees through one of Tatiana's. Tatiana controls three of their arms and a leg, while Krista controls three of their legs and an arm. The two of them also share their senses of touch, and taste and say that they know one another’s thoughts without having to speak. Tatiana and Krista describe it as “Talking in our heads.”

Tatiana and Krista's academic journey began late. They commenced their sixth grade in 2017 learning to read, write and do arithmetic in a regular school. The seven-member family includes the twins, their parents, and three other siblings; sisters Rosa and Shaylee and a brother Christopher. The twins are diabetic and have epilepsy. They are on medication with pills, daily insulin injections, and also undergo regular blood tests.



Inseparable: Ten Years Joined at the Head, a 2014 CBC Radio documentary, explained how they can see and experience the other person's feelings. In footage from the video, Tatiana's mom, Felicia Hogan, is shown gently patting her while Krista's eyes remain shut. When Krista is asked where her mom's fingers are touching Tatiana as she keeps her eyes closed, Krista answers correctly, "Her cheek."

"You can tickle one, and the other one laughs. You pinch one, the other one will cry with her like she's feeling it," she added. It "really takes a lot more work for them to see things via each other than feel things," Felicia told CBC. The girls may choose whether they want to taste what the other twin is tasting or control the other twin's actions.



Speaking about the challenges that she has been through, Felicia in one of the interviews with CBC said, “I don’t think anybody’s really going to understand a mother’s feelings when they find out that the children they’re carrying may not ever survive. I think that’s a very unique feeling and it’s really hard to explain the emotional rollercoaster you go through.”

"They're just little people that are here living their lives like the rest of us," Felicia said. "That's how we see them and that's how their siblings see them."

Cover Image Source: CBC Radio | Inseparable: 10 Years Joined At the Head - Promo

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