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As infants, the initial learning of physical processes that required bodily coordination, such as clapping, crawling, and walking, required the cooperation of both twins.While they can eat and write separately and simultaneously, activities such as running and swimming require them to coordinate and alternate their actions symmetrically.The twins were born in Carver County, Minnesota, to Patty, a registered nurse, and Mike Hensel, a carpenter and landscaper. They were raised in New Germany, Minnesota, attended Mayer Lutheran High School in Mayer, and graduated from Bethel University in St. The twins have a single body with separate heads and necks, a chest that is wider than normal, two arms, and two legs.At birth, they had a rudimentary arm between the bases of their necks attached to a shoulder blade at the back, being combined parts of Abby's left arm and Brittany's right arm. Abby's head tilts laterally outward about 5 degrees to the right, while Brittany's tilts laterally at about 15 degrees to the left, causing her to appear shorter even when seated.The life of a conjoined twin is complex, extraordinary, and emblematic of public intrigue, driving experts to want to pry into the intimacy of their lives and ask the questions: How do they feel, think, write, run, and engage in sexual activity?
They usually have separate meals, but sometimes share a single meal for the sake of convenience (e.g., each taking a bite of the same hamburger).The twins appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show on April 8 and April 29, 1996.During the same month, they were featured on the cover of Life under the caption "One Body, Two Souls", and their daily lifestyle was described in the article, "The Hensels' Summer".As they grew and learned to walk and develop other skills, their parents confirmed their decision against separation, arguing that the quality of life for the surviving twin or twins living separately would be less than their quality of life as conjoined people.The twins both passed their driver's license exams, both the written and driving tests.
In conversation, the twins are clearly distinct persons, with distinct likes and dislikes.