Twins & Other Birth Multiples (Triplets, Etc.)

Tuesday, January 4, 2005 · Last updated 5:52 a.m. PT

Woman to give birth to second twin

IASI, Romania -- A 33-year-old Romanian woman has given birth to a son and is due to give birth to his twin six weeks later in what has been called a medical first in Romania, a doctor said Tuesday.

"This is the first time this has happened in Romania," said Elena Mihalceanu, a gynecologist at the Cuza Voda hospital in this northeastern city where the first baby was born.

In a telephone interview, Mihalceanu said the twins were conceived from the same egg in May, but had separate placentas. The mother, Maricica Tescu has two uteruses due to a congenital malformation.

Mihalceanu said there had been about a dozen similar cases worldwide.

Tescu, a landscape gardener went into early labor at 29 weeks and gave birth normally to the boy, weighing 3.5 pounds, on Dec. 11.

The baby stayed a week in intensive care, suffering breathing difficulties. He is still in the hospital but is doing well now, said Mihalceanu.

The second twin is due to be born at full term at the end of January, Mihalceanu said. The woman already has an 11-year-old son.

©1996-2005 Seattle Post-Intelligencer

Twins caught speeding on same day, same car

Canadian Press
Jan. 5, 2005 10:31 AM

OTTAWA - Twins from Akwesasne doubled their travelling trouble earning two speeding tickets in the same car.

"It's unusual," provincial police Const. Joel Doiron said Tuesday. "We take our highway safety very seriously. As much as this may have some comedy to it, it's pretty unacceptable."

Early Sunday morning, Const. Chris Legere pulled over an eastbound car on Highway 401 for traveling at 155 kilometres an hour.

An 18-year-old woman from Akwesasne was charged with speeding and given a notice to appear in Alexandria court on Feb. 7.

Hours later, the same car was stopped by Legere for travelling at 148 km/h, but this time it was going westbound.

Although the driver looked the same as the first person stopped, an identification check showed that it was now the twin sister of the first driver.

"They don't only share the same birthday but they share the same offences," said Doiron. "They'll be splitting speeding fines, too."

Another driving twins story, and an easily amazed Instructor

L-test snap for identical twins

Identical twin brothers have steered safely through their driving tests after making a small but identical mistake with the same examiner.
Adam and Scott Barker passed their tests with one minor mark after stalling at the same set of lights.

The 17-year-olds, from Sawston, Cambs, were tested by the same examiner from Cambridge's Cowley Road test centre.

Instructor John Irvine, who has been teaching drivers for 21 years, said he was amazed by the coincidence.

"It's hard enough to get one minor mark - stranger when twins get one minor mark and for the same thing. Both boys passed first time as well," he said.

Scott said even for identical twins well-used to coincidence the results had taken them by surprise.

"I think it is so bizarre. It is very strange. We are identical in most things but to do the same in our driving tests was very odd. Our parents just laughed and said 'typical twins'," he said.

With their L-plates behind them, the brothers, who are studying for their A-levels at Long Road Sixth Form Centre in Cambridge, are sharing a car.

"We just take it in turns," said Scott. "He drives one way and I drive back - or the other way round."

Story from BBC NEWS: ... 201677.stm

Published: 2005/01/24 12:00:42 GMT

Sweden's Oldest Twins Turning 100

Jan 29, 8:54 PM (ET)


STOCKHOLM, Sweden (AP) - They have lived for 200 years between them, but Sweden's oldest pair of twins had never seen anything like this before. Holding up a birthday cake and two bouquets of flowers, Siri Ingvarsson and Gunhild Gaellstedt seemed bewildered by the number of photographers huddled around them in the living room of Gaellstedt's Stockholm apartment earlier this week.

"Why do they need five photographers?" Gaellstedt asked. "Do they not think we'll stick on the film?"

The media attention seemed hard to understand for the sisters - after all, Ingvarsson said, the fact that they turn 100 on Sunday "isn't that big of a deal."

"Not much different from turning 99," she said.

Still, Ingvarsson and Gaellstedt - who both walk without any assistance and do all their daily chores themselves - did their best to answer some of the questions they've almost grown tired of by now. No, they repeated time and again, they do not really have a secret formula for long life.

"We like to joke and say it's because we lived only on turnip back in 1914," Gaellstedt said. "That's all we had to eat during the world war. The first one, that is."

They have a more normal diet now, they said, but that hasn't stopped them from keeping their health. Aside from when they gave birth - they each had one child - Gaellstedt is the only one who has ever been hospitalized. She broke her thigh bone two years ago, but recovered quickly, she said.

Ingvarsson, who is 30 minutes older than her sister, said she has never been seriously injured or ill.

"I have a toe that aches, though," she said.

But in a country where senior citizens have access to free home-help service, the sisters do their shopping, cleaning, cooking and laundry themselves. They have both lived in the same apartment building for more than 50 years, Ingvarsson on the second floor and Gaellstedt on the third. The building has no elevator, but neither sister has any trouble getting up and down the stairs every day.

Ingvarsson's son, Stig, said the sisters' active lifestyle is probably why they've aged so well.

"They're on the go all the time," he said. "And they get natural exercise from walking up the stairs."

Stig Ingvarsson, a 62-year-old clockmaker who has lived in Boston, Massachusetts, since 1969, said Sunday's birthday party will be small, with only the closest family. While Gaellstedt's daughter is also still alive, other friends and loved ones died long ago.

Stig said he doubted he'll match his mother's feat.

"I already feel like I'm 100," he said.

Sweden, a country of 9 million, has more than 86,000 pairs of twins, but Ingvarsson and Gaellstedt are "by far" the oldest, said Nancy Pedersen, a professor who researches twins at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm. The institute keeps a national record of all Sweden's twins.

"It's very, very unusual that two twins both live to be 100," Pedersen said.

The oldest female twins in the world were Kin Narita and Gin Kanie of Japan. Both sisters died in 2000 at the age of 107, according to Guinness World Records.

The Swedish sisters said they're not aiming to beat that record. They haven't made any plans for their 101st birthday yet, they said.

"We don't know if we'll still be alive then," Gaellstedt said. "We may fall down dead tomorrow."

Twins born two months apart


Twins born two months apart

A Romanian woman who gave birth to a baby boy almost two months ago has just delivered his twin brother.

Romanian twins born two months apart /Sorin Cazacu

Maricica Tescu, from Iasi, had her first baby on December 11 when doctors told her she had a double uterus and another baby was still growing inside her womb.

Maricica Tescu who gave birth to twins - two months apart /Sorin Cazacu

The first baby, nicknamed Speedy, weighed 3.5lb at birth while his younger brother, born by caesarean operation and nicknamed Bashful, weighed 5.7lb.

Doctors say both twins are healthy despite being born two months apart.

Dr Elena Mihalceanu, from Cuza Voda Maternity in Iasi, told National newspaper it was the first case of its kind locally.

"It's extraordinary that both babies survived," she said.

Non identical twins pitch a fit

My mother and uncle are fraternal twins rather than identical, but they experienced one properly "twinny" event. At about the age of 20, my mum had a full-on epileptic fit - this had never happened before and has never happened since. Within a month of this happening, her brother had an identical fit. He had never had one before or since. My Mum is the elder twin by a couple of hours.
Strangely, my older brother, who is very similar to my mum and uncle had a big ol fit at the same age (never repeated). His experience may have been a coincidence prompted by incautious consumption of bhang in India though :lol:

The twin fits were totally out of the blue though.
We're in this together


We're in this together

Twins Adam and Neil were born with the same condition. And as Yvonne Roberts discovers, they both have one defence against it: humour

Tuesday February 15, 2005
The Guardian

Neil and Adam Pearson, 20, are identical twins, but they couldn't be more different. Neil dresses in preppy shirts and slacks, hopes to be a librarian, likes 80s pop, and rises early. Adam prefers jeans, wants to manage a rock band, listens to Kasabian and Green Day and leads a laid-back life.

"Neil had 100% attendance as a schoolboy," says their father, Patrick. "One day, he got knocked over by a car and still insisted in going to school the next morning."

"Adam would have stayed in bed and milked that for weeks," Marilyn, the twins' mother, chuckles. Marilyn is a housing officer; Patrick a quantity surveyor. When Marilyn discovered she was pregnant with twin boys, she was devastated.

"I wanted girls," she says. "I cried when they told me it was two boys. I didn't know how I was going to do it."

"You'd already painted the bedroom pink," Adam teases, and his mother laughs again.

Ten minutes in the Pearsons' house in Croydon, south London, and the family's chief survival tool is easily identified - humour; not just any humour, but a deep, dark vein of highly infectious black humour. Adam and Neil both have a genetic disorder, neurofibromatosis type 1, or NF1, a disorder of the nervous system caused by mutations in a gene also called NF1. Instead of cells growing and multiplying in a carefully controlled way, they grow unchecked.

One in 2,500 people in Britain have NF1, but for 30% the symptoms are so mild that they may not be aware of the complaint. Symptoms may include cafe-au-lait spots, curvature of the spine and freckling.

Disfigurement can also be caused by dermal neurofibromas, bumplike tumours under the skin, and plexiform neurofibromas, disfiguring tumours which, rooted in nerves and muscles, are difficult to remove.

At the age of 15, Neil went to a local youth club, and came back unable to remember where he had been. A year later, he had his first epileptic fit. The chronic memory loss continues. He may go into the kitchen to make tea and forget why he has made the trip. His fits are controlled by finely balanced medication that causes sleepiness.

Adam has an extreme form of NF1. Tumours have spread across his face, causing the loss of an eye and some hearing. Joseph Merrick, the "Elephant man", was wrongly thought to have NF1 (he suffered from Proteus syndrome). In a BBC1 documentary broadcast tonight, When Your Face Doesn't Fit, Adam is shown in hospital, having his 17th operation, this time to "de-bulk" his face of another fibroma and pin his ear back into alignment.

"Let's face it," says his dad affectionately by his bedside, "You're never going to look as good as me." "I have no idea what goes through people's heads when they first see me," Adam deadpans. " 'Wow!' or 'Ugh!'. More 'Wow!', I hope."

"I don't think it's easy to be either of them,' Marilyn says. "People look at Neil and think he's OK and he's not, and they look at Adam and think he's not, when he is."

At 20 months, the twins developed chronic asthma, but NF1 was not detected for several years. On the wall of the sitting room, photographs show the boys at primary school. Apart from a small bump on Adam's forehead, they appear healthy, mischievous twins. Marilyn smiles. "Other mothers might say, 'My sons would never do that.' I couldn't. I never knew what they were up to next. They were very, very naughty." "Bordering on the criminal," Patrick jokes.

A plastic surgeon removed Adam's lump and told Marilyn her son would look perfectly fine when he grew up. "I don't cry very often," she recalls now, "But I locked myself in the hospital loo and cried then. I knew that couldn't be true."

Eventually, Adam was admitted to hospital and a fibroma was discovered growing inside his throat which could have killed him at any time. He now has fun with the scar on his neck; he explained to one curious child that he was born with his head back to front, and he'd had an operation to turn it round.

As soon as the tumours appeared, the insensitive responses of strangers began. Mild-mannered Patrick says it was he who often reacted angrily. On holiday once, a father in a cafe had prodded each of his three children to alert them to Adam. "I went back to their table with Adam, walked around them and said, 'There, you've had a good look now.' Adam would always say, 'Don't worry, dad, chill.' "

"Facial disfigurement is not a unique thing," Marilyn points out. "I say to people, 'That could be you. You could have an accident, go through a windscreen.' We always taught Adam to have eye contact and smile. Make it their problem, not his. But he did struggle - we all did."

Secondary school was a bitterly unhappy time for Adam. He was bullied relentlessly and the Pearsons say the school did little to intervene. "It wasn't major beating up. It was petty name-calling," Adam recalls.

Marilyn tried to persuade Adam to change schools, but he refused: "Perhaps he believed it wouldn't be any better anywhere else."

Had Adam ever wondered, "Why me?" He shakes his head. "That doesn't get you anywhere. It's not going to change the situation. It's not going to produce the miracle cure."

Marilyn works with a devout Roman Catholic whose response, she says, is, "Why not you?" "She says, 'God doesn't give you anything you can't cope with.' " Marilyn chuckles. "I'm not so sure about that."

Adam sought help from Changing Faces, a charity that supports and represents people with disfigurement. It gave him strategies such as learning how to engage the gawkers in conversation. "I don't mind attention," Adam says. "It's bad attention I don't like."

Neil, too, was overcoming huge hurdles. "What happened to him was so cruel," says Marilyn. "He had slogged his guts out and was in the top set in everything. Then, overnight, his memory went. It was NF1. I was told that the memory loss happens to one person in 100 years."

In spite of his poor recall, Neil passed 10 GCSEs, albeit at lower than predicted grades. Now he is working towards the equivalent of three A levels at college. He may never be able to live independently. "I seem normal, but that doesn't mean I don't have problems," he says cheerfully. "I sometimes wonder what it would be like if I looked like Adam and he looked like me."

Adam too passed 10 GCSEs, then his life changed. He transferred to a Christian school, Archbishop Tenison. He had already begun to attend a local baptist church (the family itself is Catholic). In both places, he says, he was accepted for who he was, not how he appeared. "I moved from pessimism to optimism." He also embarked on a hectic social life - so much so that Marilyn feared for his A levels and gave him a telling-off.

"If he has the credentials, it doesn't matter what he looks like," she explains firmly. "If he doesn't then how he appears really does start to matter. His choices are gone."

Adam is now at Brighton University studying business management and, undeterred by asthma and eczema, he says he's happy. He also has a talent for making money. When he was at primary school, his father told him about his own childhood friend who had charged his fellow pupils to see his operation scar. Adam promptly began his own business: pay-per-view. In hospital, he was given Boyzone's autographs. They too generated income, since girls at school paid a pound a time to kiss the signatures.

Patrick now gently tries to check Adam's almost visibly growing confidence. "I'm cool," Adam says. "I don't mind who knows it." "Well, there's confidence," his father says, "and there's arrogance. You don't want to come over as a little shit, do you? Try to act as an ambassador for others with facial disfigurement, not a show-off."

Adam smiles enigmatically. Marilyn says both boys enjoy winding their father up. We talk about the future and having children. While the NF1 in Adam and Neil was caused by a random mutation, they now have a 50% chance of passing it on to their own offspring. "Well, children involves sex and that requires a girlfriend," Adam says laconically. "I tell him he better be nice to me because I'm the only woman who'll ever love him - I don't think," Marilyn chuckles. "The answer isn't a girl. It's the right girl. "

Neil is visibly nourished by the banter. "I wish both my boys had been taller," Marilyn says. "Height matters in a man." "Well, you shouldn't have chosen someone who's five foot six for a husband," Neil retorts.

"Remembering how naughty they used to be, they've not turned out so bad," Marilyn says proudly. "You have to love the child you've got, not the one you think you should have had. And we love our boys."

· When Your Face Doesn't Fit is on BBC1 at 9pm tonight. Changing Faces website:,7890,1414841,00.html

Like Dead Ringers!!

Twin Docs Accused of Switching IDs, Abusing Women

Tue Feb 15, 8:34 AM ET

Add to My Yahoo! Oddly Enough - Reuters

SEATTLE (Reuters) - An attorney has filed the latest in a series of civil lawsuits against twin physician brothers, accusing them of impersonating one another and sexually assaulting female patients in an obstetric-gynecology practice.

In a complaint filed in King County Superior Court by Seattle lawyer Harish Bharti, six female patients of Charles Momah said they were sometimes deceived into being seen, examined, operated on and sexually fondled by his twin, Dennis Momah, a general practitioner who is not certified in obstetrics and gynecology.

Charles Momah, who had gynecological practices in Burien and Federal Way, two suburban cities south of Seattle, pleaded not guilty last fall to criminal charges of rape, indecent liberties and insurance fraud. He has not yet been tried.

Bharti said the women, as well as others that he is representing in other lawsuits, had complained to a variety of authorities over several years about their treatment in Charles Momah's practice. However, for some time, no one seemed interested in investigating the complaints, Bharti said on Monday.

"I have heard them cry in my offices," Bharti said, "I tell you, it was an insult to these women. ... No doubt, nobody would listen."

Neither man could be contacted for comment. Phones at both of Charles Momah's practices have been disconnected.

The women assert that the two sometimes switched identities and assaulted them.

On some occasions the doctor they believed to be Charles Momah was jovial and talkative with little accent. He bore certain scars and other physical characteristics.

On other visits, the man they believed to be Charles Momah stuttered, had a heavy accent, and even appeared to be a different weight, claim the women who filed suit.

I'm a twin (fraternal) and my sister and i had great fun pretending to be psychicly linked - we had a phrase that we'd say in time whenever anyone asked if we're psychic, something long and compicated enough that it seems a remarkable coincidence for us to both say it. Gets amazing reactions out of people. We also used to play magic tricks that made it look as if we were reading each others minds. So i think at least some of the mind reading twin examples are staged by naughty twins like us. Having said that there are times when we do think and do things in tune, but they are probably coincidences or the same kind of falling into step that all people do when they spend enough time together.
I apologise on behalf of all my prankster twin companions for muddying the waters, but children are naughty. I'd love to see some proper research on it one day though.
I'm an identical twin; my sister and I are very close emotionally, but we live in different parts of the metro area, and I don't think we've ever been more than ordinarily perceptive with each other. We certainly aren't psychic, though we can tell just by a look what the other is thinking; but many non-twins can do that with each other.

I was reading the "Strange Folks" thread and it reminded me of something that happened to my sister and me when we were teenagers, but since this thread is about twins, I'll post it here!

Back in those days, our best friends were - cue Twilight Zone music - also identical twin girls. We were all similar height, coloring, with same hair do's. (Long straight, bangs - this was the 60s.) One day the four of were at the neighborhood pool together, 1/2 of each pair of twins left together. I should add that my sister and I had similar outfits and so did our friends. When my sister got home, she told me the funniest thing - they had walked past a man doing yard work who saw them and sputtered in shock "Didn't you two just walk by here?"

Too bad there wasn't any place for him to post his experience back in those days; but it just goes to show you that sometimes the most puzzling things have the simplest explanations - although two pairs of identical twins probably wouldn't be anything most people would think of anyway!
Texas Candidate Admits Using Twin as Stand-In

Thu Apr 21, 2:03 PM ET

Add to My Yahoo! U.S. National - Reuters

SAN ANTONIO, Texas (Reuters) - The leading candidate for mayor of San Antonio admitted on Thursday using his twin brother as a stand-in at a civic event without telling anyone it was not him.

Julian Castro, a 30-year-old city councilman, said brother Joaquin, his identical twin, rode for him in the annual River Parade through downtown San Antonio on Monday. Videos showed Joaquin smiling and waving to the crowd as he floated along the San Antonio River in a barge for city council members. "He was standing in the River Parade because I had to host a neighborhood leaders meeting," said Castro.

Polls show that Castro, who went to Stanford University and Harvard Law School, has a double-digit lead in the mayoral race that will be voted on May 7.

Castro said his brother, who is in the Texas legislature, was not impersonating him and would not have been mistaken for him.

"He's not as good looking," he joked.

But a television anchorman moderating the event identified the man on the barge as Julian, as did the River Parade announcer.

The two appeared together at a press conference on Thursday in t-shirts making light of the event.

"I am Julian," read the one worn by Julian.

"I am not Julian," said Joaquin's.

Julian said Joaquin has been out on the campaign trail for him in other events, but always identified himself as Joaquin.

Julian's mayoral opponents attacked his use of a stand-in as "deceitful" and "immature."

Ohio Twin Sisters Have Babies on Same Day

May 13, 4:44 PM (ET)

MIDDLEBURG HEIGHTS, Ohio (AP) - Twins Mary Maurer and Melanie Glavich grew up doing everything together. Now their sons can follow suit. The sisters gave birth to sons 35 minutes apart on Thursday.

Maurer and Glavich say they weren't surprised to share the same due date, May 27, for their second babies.

But the sisters both went into labor early. They entered the hospital at 6 p.m. Wednesday and delivered a few hours later in side-by-side rooms at Southwest General Health Center in Middleburg Heights, about 15 miles southwest of Cleveland.

Grandmother Cheryl Prosser ran back and forth between the rooms.

"I felt guilty about not being with each girl all the time, but it worked out," she said. "I took digital pictures of the babies to show each girl."

Maurer gave birth to a boy, Avery, at midnight. Glavich delivered her son, Ty, at 12:35 a.m.

Prosser's delivery of the sisters 23 years ago had its own twist: She didn't know she was having twins.


Information from: The (Cleveland) Plain Dealer,

Lost twin assimilated

One of my sons was the result of a pregnancy where he had a twin that I lost when I was about 12 weeks pregnant.

Interestingly, he has some additional features, like a smaller, "shadow" set of nipples, that the doctor says could be a result of partially absorbing his twin.
I'm an identical twin.

I also live in in York, I did see the twins metioned once or twice when I was about 7. (Very weird)

We can freak out my sisters boyfriend just by looking at each other. We tend to look at each other, nod and one of us will answer an unsaid question.

We giggle in unison, reply to questions together etc (the usual twin stuff).

We had also had the odd things happen.

When I was four, I becuase very ill and was given a lumber punchure (without my Mums knowledge). At home my sister started screaming the house down holding her lower back and saying "what are they doing to Colette (me) " So my mum rang the hospital to find out and was more than a little angry whan she did!

We used to talk in Twin and knew a pair of male twins. I could talk the the younger one (I'm the eldest) and my sister could talk to the eldest. I couldn't talk to the eldest and the same was true for the others. I'm still puzzled by that.

We are Geminis born on the 13th, 13 minutes apart and my mum was born on the 13th of the next month which is when we were due.

My Hubby can tell us apart easily and has only ever got us confused twice.
High hopes for Poland's populist leader
By Adam Easton
BBC correspondent in Warsaw

One of the decisive factors in Lech Kaczynski's victory seems to have been people's fear of rapid free market reforms.

During both the presidential and recent parliamentary elections campaigns, he and his Law and Justice Party repeatedly criticised their rival's economic plans as a "dangerous liberal experiment".


The son of a World War II resistance fighter, 56-year-old Mr Kaczynski won much support among older voters for getting a state-of-the-art museum built commemorating Warsaw's failed 1944 uprising against Nazi occupation.

"I voted for Lech Kaczynski. He's from my generation, exactly my age. He's right about most of the important issues," said one woman voter as she left a polling station in Warsaw.

"He's in touch with our national goals and feelings. He's had some successes in Warsaw and somehow I trust him," she said.

Identical twin

Lech Kaczynski's victory caps a remarkable family history.

He first found fame in 1962 when he and his identical twin brother Jaroslaw charmed the nation as child actors with angelic faces in the popular film, The Two Who Stole the Moon.

Jaroslaw is now the chairman of the pair's Law and Justice Party. He is credited by many as being the strategist and architect of plans to create a new Fourth Republic.

The brothers are stridently anti-communist and Lech campaigned to become the "President of the Fourth Republic" to symbolise a complete break with communist influence.

The brothers are so similar that many here struggle to tell them apart. Jaroslaw, the elder by 45 minutes, turned down the post of prime minister so as not to endanger his brother's chances yesterday.

Instead, he proposed the little-known former physics teacher Kazimierz Marcinkiewicz as premier.

But few doubt that Jaroslaw will be taking many important decisions in the new government.
Full article:

11:00 - 15 February 2006
Like most young twins they are virtually inseparable. But three-year-old sisters Catherine and Elizabeth Towells will soon be parted - because their chosen school only has room for one of them.

From September, Catherine will go to Dunster First School, where both have attended pre-school with their friends this year.

But Elizabeth will have to go somewhere else, because the family live outside the school's catchment area and all 30 reception class places have been filled by children who live closer.

Her sibling got the last place purely because her Christian name comes first in the alphabet.

The twins' parents Darren and Sarah, who live in the village of Chapel Cleeve, are fighting Somerset County Council's decision, labelling it "ridiculous".

"We are really angry such a decision has been taken," Mr Towells said.

"Out of that class of 30, only 16 are from within the catchment area, why then have they separated the twins?

"When we took them to pre-school we would say 'that is where you will start school in September'.

"We will fight this as far as it will go."

Education authority Somerset County Council said that it was following the Government's rules.

"We endeavour to meet as many parental preferences as possible, but must adhere to the published arrangements, especially as to exceed the admission number at Dunster would mean a breach of the statutory infant class size limit of 30 pupils," a council spokesman said.

"Mrs Towells has been offered a place for both children at her second preference school and there are also places available for both children at another local school within statutory walking distance of the home address."
Here's another twins story which is very unpleasant:

We shared everything except an [sic] that nearly tore us apart
By Marcello Mega

GROWING up, twins Tracy and Sharon Dickson were inseparable. But each one was keeping an appalling secret from the other, which allowed a paedophile to ply his vile trade.

For eight years the twins were the victims of sexual abuse by their elderly piano teacher. But the loving sisters never uttered a word of their ordeal for one simple reason.

"He told me if I said anything to anyone then he'd do the same to Sharon," says Tracy, 19.

"And the evil bastard said the exact same to me," adds Sharon. "So we both kept quiet in order to protect the other."

From the age of eight to 16 the pair were subjected to a horrific catalogue of abuse, including rape, by Alexander MacDonald.

But the stress of keeping such a terrible secret for so long almost tore the family apart. It is only now, after it has come out, that the twins feel they can start to rebuild their lives.

The abuse began when Tracy and Sharon started visiting MacDonald's house for piano lessons. He lived just a few hundred yards away from their home in the village of Lochgelly, Fife.

Tracy, the more outgoing sister, says: "At first I didn't fully understand what was going on. We used to go to piano lessons together but after we'd learned the basics he said we should have lessons separately as we'd learn more quickly. We still went to his house together but one of us would be in the piano room with him and the other would be sent to help his wife make tea.

"He always told me not to tell. He gave me the impression I was making him do it and that if anybody found out, I'd be the one in trouble. Later on, he was more threatening.

"He'd tell me that if I didn't do what he wanted, or if I told Sharon, he'd make her do it instead.

"I remember when I was 10, I was lying awake one night and I wondered for the first time if it might be happening to Sharon too, but I decided it couldn't be. I thought there was no way my twin could keep something like that from me. But of course we were keeping it from each other."

Having won the trust and confidence of their family, including their mother, Dawn, and grandmother, Grace, MacDonald offered to teach the girls art as well as the piano. Knowing they loved animals, he also arranged to drive them to riding lessons, but it was merely cover for him to continue his abuse.

When his wife died six years ago, he would call the twins at home and ask if one of them was around to help him with domestic chores. They were always too scared to say no and their family was proud of them for agreeing to help him out.

Grandmother Grace, 62, says: "It makes my blood boil to know how he manipulated us all. We trusted him. We thought he cared for them in the way a grandfather would care for his grandchildren. He had us all fooled."

As the girls became teenagers their personalities began to change and so did their relationship with each other. "I had this urge to protect Tracy and I know she felt the same for me, but I had all this anger and I couldn't tell anyone why," says Sharon.

"Apart from the abuse we had to deal with the fact we had to keep a secret from each other put up a barrier between us.

"At the same time as wanting to protect each other, there was anger as each of us thought we were the victim. So we lashed out at each other over trivial things. It was all a cover for the pain we were going through yet couldn't share. It was such a strain."

In the end, the problems between the sisters caused such a bad atmosphere at home that Sharon moved out at 16.

"It was just so hard seeing Sharon every day. In both our minds the other was the reason the abuse was continuing," says Tracy. "But it wasn't long before we realised how much we missed each other."

When they were 17 Tracy could no longer live with the burden. "I hadn't thought of telling anyone before then," she says, "but I was scared that he'd do it to someone else.

"He had young grandchildren and I was afraid they'd have to suffer what I had, so I wrote it all down in a letter to my sergeant at Army Cadet Camp."

He and a female officer persuaded Tracy to let them take her to the police the next morning. Later that day, the rest of the family was informed.

"I felt shocked when I heard Tracy say the words I'd been holding in all those years," recalls Sharon. "Mum and Tracy started crying, but I just felt numb."

Sharon was asked if anything had ever happened to her and at last she too was finally able to unburden herself.

"Telling them that it had happened to me too was traumatic, but also a relief."

But the realisation that they had both been suffering at the hands of MacDonald was gut-wrenching for the twins.

"In the back of my mind I'd been scared that it might be happening to Sharon but I was shocked and upset when my worst fears were confirmed. And I couldn't help but wish I'd said something sooner," says Tracy.

Sharon adds: "But we immediately understood why the other had acted the way they did in not telling anyone. And it also made me realise why we fell out over the years. We had hidden so much pain."

MacDonald, author of a chilling novel about a killer rapist who buried his teenage victim in a compost heap, was charged with raping the girls and performing a variety of sick sex acts between March 1995 and March 2003.

At 84 he was the oldest person in the UK to be charged with contemporary sexual crimes.

He was to have gone on trial at the High Court in Edinburgh in February this year but the case was adjourned while his lawyers sought medical reports.

Although he'd been able to attend court for preliminary hearings just a few weeks earlier, medics provided MacDonald with his get-out clause and the court accepted he was not fit to stand trial. The case was thrown out.

"Of course we didn't want the ordeal of having to go to court but we were prepared to finally stand up to him," says Tracy.

"But he denied us that, it was so cruel. After all he put us through we wanted to see him squirm. We wanted to hear the word 'guilty', but it wasn't to be."

A month later the sisters learned that MacDonald died following a long battle with emphysema. "When I found out he was dead I felt a mixture of happiness and relief," says Sharon. Gran Grace says: "I just hope he suffered and died in pain, although nothing can make up for what he's done to our family."

To this day, the girls have not discussed what they went through with each other.

"Neither of us wants to relive it again, and neither of us wants to hear what the other went through," says Tracy. "We had to relive it for the police and prosecutors, but that was because we wanted justice. Now we need to move on."

They are determined not to let MacDonald ruin the rest of their lives. Sharon says: "We're still recovering from everything that has happened and it's going to take a long time.

"But we will make something of ourselves. His life may be over - but ours is just beginning."
Vegan Women Much Less Likely To Have Twins Than Women Who Eat Animal Products, Especially Diary

Main Category: Nutrition/Agriculture News
Article Date: 22 May 2006 - 0:00am (PDT)

An obstetrician well known for his care of and research into multiple-birth pregnancies has found that dietary changes can affect a woman's chances of having twins, and that her overall chance is determined by a combination of diet and heredity. By comparing the twinning rate of vegan women, who consume no animal products, with that of women who do eat animal products, Gary Steinman, MD, PhD, an attending physician at Long Island Jewish (LIJ) Medical Center in New Hyde Park, NY, found that the women who consume animal products, specifically dairy, are five times more likely to have twins. The study is published in the May 2006 issue of the Journal of Reproductive Medicine, available May 20.

The Lancet recently published an invited comment by Dr. Steinman on dietary influences on twinning in the journal's May 6 issue.

The culprit may be insulin-like growth factor (IGF), a protein that is released from the liver of animals -- including humans -- in response to growth hormone, circulates in the blood and makes its way into the animal's milk. IGF increases the sensitivity of the ovaries to follicle stimulating hormone, thereby increasing ovulation. Some studies also suggest that IGF may help embryos survive in the early stages of development. The concentration of IGF in the blood is about 13 percent lower in vegan women than in women who consume dairy.

The twinning rate in the United States has increased significantly since 1975, about the time assisted reproductive technologies (ART) were introduced. The intentional delay of childbearing has also contributed to the increase of multiple-birth pregnancies, since older women are more likely to have twins even without ART.

"The continuing increase in the twinning rate into the 1990's, however, may also be a consequence of the introduction of growth-hormone treatment of cows to enhance their milk and beef production," said Dr. Steinman.

In the current study, when Dr. Steinman compared the twinning rates of women who ate a regular diet, vegetarian diet with dairy, and vegan diet, he found that the vegan women had twins at only one-fifth the rate of women who commonly do not exclude milk from their diets.

In addition to a dietary influence on IGF levels, there is a genetic link in numerous species of animals, including humans. In cattle, regions of the genetic code that control the rate of twinning have been detected in close proximity to the IGF gene. Researchers have found through large population studies of African American, Caucasian and Asian women that blood IGF levels are greatest among African Americans and lowest in Asians. Some women are just genetically programmed to make more IGF than others. Twinning rates in these demographic groups parallel the IGF levels.

"This study shows for the first time that the chance of having twins is affected by both heredity and environment, or in other words, by both nature and nurture," said Dr. Steinman. These findings are similar to those observed in cows by other researchers, namely that a woman's chance of having twins appears to correlate directly with her blood level of insulin-like growth factor.

"Because multiple gestations are more prone to complications such as premature delivery, congenital defects and pregnancy-induced hypertension in the mother than singleton pregnancies, the findings of this study suggest that women contemplating pregnancy might consider substituting meat and dairy products with other protein sources, especially in countries that allow growth hormone administration to cattle," said Dr. Steinman.

Dr. Steinman has been studying factors that cause or contribute to twinning ever since he delivered a rare set of identical quadruplets in 1997 at LIJ Medical Center. His most recent study published in this month's Journal of Reproductive Medicine on fraternal, or dizygotic, twinning is the seventh in a series. The other six studies, published in the same journal, focused on identical, or monozygotic, twinning. Some of his findings are summarized below.

Previous twinning studies

Dr. Steinman found that women who become pregnant while breastfeeding are nine times more likely to conceive twins than women who are not breastfeeding at the time of conception. He also confirmed findings by others that identical twin sets are more often female than male, especially in conjoined twin sets, and that monozygotic twin sets are more likely to miscarry than dizygotic sets. Dr. Steinman also found evidence through fingerprint analysis that as the number of fetuses in a monozygotic set increases, so does the level of physical diversity among them. In his most recent study of the mechanisms of twinning prior to the new study, Dr. Steinman confirmed that use of in vitro fertilization (IVF) methods increases the incidence of monozygotic twinning -- where the transfer and/or implantation of two embryos results in three infants -- and he proposed that adding more calcium or reducing the chelating agent ethylenediamine tetraacetic acid (EDTA) in the IVF incubation media might decrease the unwanted complication.

Christina Verni
North Shore-Long Island Jewish (LIJ) Health System ... wsid=43765
What about conducting a cross cultural study in countries that do not use much dairy produce?
Its the moo juice

A differnt spin:

Dairy Products Might Cause More Human Twins

By LiveScience Staff

posted: 20 May 2006
10:49 am ET

Women who consume animal products, specifically dairy, are five times more likely to have twins than those who do not, a new study finds.

The reason may involve growth hormones fed to cows.

A growth protein called IGF is released from the liver of animals and humans in response to growth hormones. IGF circulates in the blood gets into an animal's milk. IGF increases ovulation and might also help embryos survive in the early stages of development, said study leader Gary Steinman of the Long Island Jewish Medical Center.

The concentration of IGF in the blood is about 13 percent lower in vegan women than in women who consume dairy. Vegans abstain from eating anything derived from animals.

The percentage of multiple births has increased significantly since 1975, roughly when science began to assist couples that struggled to make babies. Some part of the increase owes to more older women getting pregnant, as they are statistically more likely to birth twins.

"The continuing increase in the twinning rate into the 1990's, however, may also be a consequence of the introduction of growth-hormone treatment of cows to enhance their milk and beef production," Steinman said.

The research was published today in the Journal of Reproductive Medicine. ... rmone.html
It would be interesting to compare birth rates of twins in China (apropos my last post)
Its natures way to keep the numbers of weirdos down in my opinion...
Dingo667 said:
Its natures way to keep the numbers of weirdos down in my opinion...

But it's probably to do with nutritional values.

A healthy omnivore might well carry twins and give birth succesfully, but Mother Nature might consider that someone with a more restricted diet is not so likely to achieve this, and thus one or both twins, if conceived, might be aborted.
Nah. I think it's all the nasty hormones. Who'd want twins anyway?

*wanders off to find a soya yoghurt*
I have an odd twin story, which I first posted on the autism thread, however rynner pointed me here: Sunday before last I attended a child's birthday party. Among those attending were identical twin austistic 8-yr-old boys, with their grandma and mom. At this point I will just copy my previous messages with a bit of editing:

One of the boys came up to me and put his hand gently on my left wrist and looked up into my eyes sympathetically (same child wouldn't look into my eyes when I asked him his age). Well, it was the strangest thing -- he didn't speak (altho the kids could speak in a kind of sing-song), but I just >knew< at that point that he knew that I had broken my arm right there two months ago, although the cast is off and there is no sign of the fracture now. He put his hand right where the break was and it felt, well, warm and cozy in a healing sort of way, can't describe it, which I know is not how autistic children usually are supposed to be. I mentioned to the child's uncle later that he seemed to have been aware that I had broken my arm recently, and he said, oh, yeah, they're quite psychic all the time. And I said, well, I'm glad to know I didn't just imagine it. Their grandmother mentioned (she didn't know anything about the wrist incident) that they cry when they hear babies cry at the store, or animals in distress, etc. As if they are very empathic. The oddest thing. Especially since their mother was truly unpleasant, although I tried to give her the benefit of the doubt since raising identical twin autistic boys would have to be difficult.

2nd message: A very odd followup to my previous post about the autistic twins -- a few days later I ran into the twins' aunt, and she said that one of the boys had broken his arm in the last few days. (She couldn't remember which twin). I looked at my husband, and after we got into the car, I say, that was weird in light of the way the child put his hand on my arm right where it broke. And my husband says, well, it might not be the same twin. OK, I say. And then he said well it might not even be the same arm you broke, or the same bone. OK, sez I. Then he said if it turns out that it's the same twin, the same arm, the same bone, the same place, then I'll be weirded out. OK, sez I. So tonight he was going out and I knew he would see the aunt, and I sez ask her. And he did. Do I even need to go on? Same twin (who touched my arm), same arm (left), same bone, (humerous) same place right above the wrist. I kid you not. But I do not know what this means at all. :? Yeah, maybe it's just a coincidence. Yeah.

3rd message: I tried to figure out what rational way the child could have realized that my arm had been injured, and remembered that the kid's grandma said that they were very visually oriented. And I thought later that perhaps the child noticed that my left wrist is still >very slightly< swollen, altho it's not very noticible, and my other wrist isn't exactly skinny. The difference is tiny. But it's conceivable that a very observant person could notice. Just trying to be rational here.

And the mom left with the twins early, and the grandma said, those kids better not have bruises on them when I get home, and I wondered if she hit them. And now I wonder even more. :( The whole thing is still weird.

Comments now: I didn't mention my arm having been broken at the party and the kids, their mom, and grandma didn't know, altho I think the aunt and uncle knew. But it wasn't mentioned at all. Also I didn't mention the wrist touching incident to the mom and grandma since I didn't really know them at all. Just mentioned it to the uncle afterwards. Someone also told me that it is most common for right-handed people to break the left humerous. Is that true, I wonder?

I realize it sounds peculiar to say the child's touch felt healing; perhaps a better word would be comforting? You know how some people, when they touch you, it feels icky and you wish they would stop? Well, this child felt the opposite. Good. I dunno why.
We did not break the humerous, it was the radius. I think. The lower arm bone that connects with the thumb. I'm not a doctor. heh. :oops:
Better diet 'doubles births of identical twins'
By Nic Fleming, Science Correspondent in Prague
(Filed: 22/06/2006)

Improved diets and health have caused a doubling in the proportion of identical twins being born, according to research.

Scientists believe a steady rise in the chances of births producing identical twins in developed countries over the past century is a natural evolutionary response to greater availability of food and medical care.

Research by Prof Robert Jansen, the medical director of the Sydney IVF clinic in Australia, challenges the widely held view that twin pregnancies have only become more common because of IVF treatment.

There has in fact been a four-fold increase in the rate oRise in twins linked to hormone changes in older mothers of identical twins born after fertility treatment since 1982. Prof Jansen puts this down to a combination of better diets and improved laboratory embryo culture conditions.

Recent years have seen increased focus on the practice of implanting several embryos during fertility treatment because of the greater risks associated with multiple birth to both mothers and their babies.

The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority is considering whether Britain should follow other countries in which clinics usually put back only one embryo.

Speaking at the annual European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology conference in Prague yesterday, he said: "Over the past 100 years, both in the UK and Australia, there has been an increase in identical twinning through the division of the embryo into two, even without IVF. Nature will have its way. There is some advantage to identical twinning because it increases the chances that genes will be passed on to another generation.

"It makes some sense that in times of exuberance when there seems to be nutrition to spare, a bit of experimentation might be possible despite the risks. It's hard to think of a steady trend that has occurred over such a long period other than one that is due to the improved health and nutrition of mothers, which is reflected in the increased capacity of an egg to form embryos.

"It's occurring naturally and out of our hands. It's a dilemma in that we are doing what we can to reduce dizygotic (non-identical) twinning but the better embryo culture gets, the bigger the increase in monozygotic (identical) twinning there will be."

In 1984 there were 6,406 multiple births in England and Wales, including those conceived naturally and through fertility treatment, of which 6,321 were twins. In 2004 this rose to 9,446, of which 9,294 were twins.

In 1992 there were 627 twin births following IVF treatment in the UK. This had risen to 1,763 by 2003-04.

Prof Jansen studied Australian birth statistics between 1920 and 2003 and found the rate of identical twin births conceived naturally rose from three per 1,000 births in 1920 to around 5.5 per 1,000 in 2003.

Rates of more common non-identical twins born naturally have increased from around eight per 1,000 births in 1920 to approximately 11 per 1,000 in 2003.

Among IVF conceptions the identical twin birth rate has gone from about three per 1,000 births in 1982 to 12 per 1,000 in 2000.

Biochemists have refined the culture medium in an attempt to recreate the fluid in the fallopian tubes. As a result the embryo is nourished and fertilised better and, if two embryos are put back, there will be a higher chance of both implanting and twins being born.

Bill Ledger, professor of obstetrics and gynaecology at the University of Sheffield, said: "Nutrition and human health have improved and women are deferring pregnancy until they are older, and the chance of having twins goes up as you get closer to 40. All these things together are increasing the number of twins."
I have a morbid twin fact...twins are very common on my father's side of the family...however, one twin always dies at, or soon after, birth. :shock:

What with that, and the alleged second sight on my mother's side of the family, i don't even have to leave the house to get seriously spooked....

11:00 - 21 October 2006

Twin sisters Elizabeth Sowerbutts and Mary Blackburn are celebrating their 100th birthday today - at other ends of the country.Both received their telegrams from the Queen.

The sisters, one of whom lives in Devon, are among just a handful of twins to have reached the landmark.

A Buckingham Palace spokesman admitted: "It's pretty rare."

The twins were born on October 21 1906 on a farm at Clitheroe in Lancashire, the youngest of six children.

But their mother died when they were two years old and they were brought up by two maiden aunts.

Mary married her first husband Charles and they had twin daughters.

She divorced and remarried.

Mary, who has five grandchildren and two great-grandchildren, now lives in a care home in Cumbria.

Her sister Elizabeth, who has three grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren, ran a shoe shop in Clitheroe with husband Horace Sowerbutts.

She now lives in a care home in Devon, near to her only child Brian and his wife Jean.

Brian said from his home in Wembury, Devon: "Both twins have been widowed for many years.

"They have strong family likenesses.

"Unfortunately they are not well enough to travel and meet up."

Jean said: "They are both having little parties at their nursing homes.

"We hope they will be able to speak to each other.

Brian said: "Mary married Charles Hall, who, after the war, owned Snapes Haulage and specialised in taking cloth to Manchester and returning with yarn for weaving. They had twin daughters who attended Clitheroe Girls' Grammar School. Hazel went on to become a teacher and Barbara trained as a nurse at Guy's Hospital in London. Hazel died last year and Barbara lives in Paignton, Devon.

"Mary subsequently divorced and married Johnny Blackburn, a member of a well-known Clitheroe family.

"Elizabeth married Horace Sowerbutts and for over 30 years they lived in Clitheroe, where they ran a shoe shop."