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Chiropractic Principles

By Daniel Roytas

The Story of Conjoined Twins

Radhika and Dudhika Nayak (known as the Orissa twins) were conjoined twins born in September 1889, in the Indian province of Orissa. In 1902, at the age of 13, Dudhika contracted tuberculosis. A medical doctor by the name of Professor Doyen attempted to separate them. Unfortunately, Dudhika died, but her sister Radhika remained completely healthy and survived.

Tuberculosis is considered to be a highly infectious and potentially lethal disease affecting the respiratory system, caused by mycobacterium tuberculosis. How is it possible that only one twin contracted this highly infectious disease, despite being in such close proximity to one another?

Then there is the case of the conjoined twins Masha and Dasha Krivoshlyapova, born in Russia in 1950. The sisters shared an interconnected blood supply and immune system, but had separate central nervous systems. Despite sharing an immune system, the twins reacted to illness completely differently. Dasha was prone to colds and had measles during her childhood, while her sister Masha remained completely healthy.

Finally, there is the story of the conjoined twins Rosa and Josepha Blazek, who were born in 1878. Just like Masha and Dasha, Rosa and Josepha had an interconnected blood supply and immune system, but had separate central nervous systems. In February of 1922, Rosa first became ill with a cough, which then developed into influenza. Josepha was unaffected. Three weeks later, Rosa had convalesced, but within days, Josepha experienced severe abdominal pain and jaundice from an inflammation and swelling of the gall bladder, diagnosed as cholecystitis.

How is it that the disease of influenza, tuberculosis, or measles was not spread to the other twin, given they were in such close and constant proximity to each other? Why didn’t the original source of infection infect both of them? Is it possible that they were both exposed to similar environmental factors, yet their diseases manifested in different ways—for example, one suffered influenza while the other experienced cholecystitis? In these cases, the twins shared a blood supply and immune system, but had separate nervous systems. Could the nervous system play a more significant role in the development of illness than we currently understand?

Editor’s note:
The reason for the conjoined twins experiencing separate illnesses didn’t make sense within the infectious model of disease, and these stories continue to challenge medical researchers today.

However, chiropractors, then and now, maintain that the mystery is revealed once we realize that the individuals, though sharing many things in common, each had their own separate nervous systems from which they perceived the world.

Differences in nervous system function can explain differences in health and wellness.

How important is the brain and nervous system in the cause of health and disease? The nervous system may be more important than we ever imagined.