The new mother was told that her twin babies had died at birth. However, the truth was far different: they were sent to an institute near Moscow to be studied. This was to be the fate of “Masha” and “Dasha”, one of the most unusual sets of Siamese or conjoined twins ever born. Identical twins are formed when a fertilized egg divides into two separate eggs. The two eggs grow into two babies that are genetically identical. Conjoined twins are formed in the same way as identical twins but the eggs, for some reason, don’t completely separate; instead, they remain partially attached.
Although Masha and Dasha had four arms, they had only three legs. They stood on two of their legs, one controlled by Masha, one by Dasha (they were five before they learned how to walk) while a third small leg remained in the air behind them. Their upper intestines are separated, but they shared a single lower intestine and rectum. They had four kidneys and one bladder, and often disagreed on when to urinate. They had a common reproductive system.
Because their circulatory systems were interconnected, the twins shared each other’s blood. Surprisingly, illness affected them differently. Dasha was short-sighted, prone to colds and right-handed. Masha smoked occasionally, had a healthier constitution, higher blood pressure than her sister, had good eyesight and was left-handed. The twins’ differing health patterns presented a mystery. Why did one become ill with a childhood disease, like measles for example, while the other did not? The measles “bug” was in both of their bodies, so why didn’t both get the measles?
Why would one get sick but not the other?
There is more to “getting the measles” than having the measles virus. This phenomenon was seen over and over again with the girls (flu, colds, other childhood diseases were all experienced separately). If germs alone had the power to cause infectious diseases, why would one of the twins be disease-free while the other was ill? What was it in their makeup that differentiated one from the other?
Although Masha and Dasha had common circulatory, digestive, excretory, lymphatic, endocrine and skeletal systems (they were joined at the hips), they had separate spinal columns and spinal cords. This was the only important difference between the two girls. In Masha and Dasha, nature’s “laboratory” devised an experiment that no human researcher could ever duplicate. These extraordinary twins are an invaluable example confirming that there is much more to “catching” a disease than simply breathing in germs; germs can make you sick if, and only if, your body provides fertile ground to grow in.
The state of your nerve system can determine whether you have high or low resistance to disease. If you are suffering from disease, the health of your nerve system will play a decisive role in whether or not (and how rapidly) you will recover.