They spent two-and-a-half years glued to one another, conjoined at the sternum. But over time, life was becoming an insurmountable struggle for Eva and Erika Sandoval. The girls, from Antelope, California - who shared a digestive system, a uterus, a liver, a bladder, a pelvis, and a third leg with a seven-toed foot (top right)- suffered countless infections, and Erika was becoming dangerously weak. Last Tuesday, in one of the riskiest separation operations ever performed (bottom right), the twin girls were successfully separated. And on Monday afternoon, six days after their 18-hour operation, the pair were reunited for the first time. A touching video released by Lucile Packard Children's Hospital Stanford on Wednesday shows the girls' parents carefully carrying one over to the other, while nurses lift the numerous wires and cords with them. Finally lying on a bed together (left), they silently stare at each other. It was a staggering moment of triumph for the entire family after years of fears over the risks surrounding their procedure.
What is the typical cause of death in YOUR county? Incredible maps show leading killers in each region of America
Where you live determines how you die, according to a new study that lays bare the most common causes of death county-by-county across the United States. The data, collected by the University of Washington in Seattle, offers an unprecedented detailed insight into the differing healthcare needs of each region and shows how it has changed since 1980. Cancer kills more people in Idaho, Wyoming and Colorado than anywhere else (as shown top left) while heart disease – the nation’s biggest killer overall – claims most lives in West Virginia and Kentucky, as evidenced by the map pictured top right.
Mother, 34, whose brain is being crunched as it sinks into her spine will die unless she can raise funds for life-saving surgery abroad
Leah Boxall, 34, (right), cannot turn her head without dislocating her neck and is partially paralysed (left). She suffers from Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, a condition that has left her spine and neck too weak to support her head and her brain is now slipping into her spinal column crushing her brain stem. Her daughter Caitlyn, 12, (inset), is now her primary carer at their home in Southampton.
Oxford student, 21, whose friends raised more than £60,000 to help him complete his bucket list dies from cancer
Matt Greenwood (left), 21, an engineering student at the University of Oxford, was diagnosed with an aggressive form of cancer in his hip, which had spread to his lungs earlier this year. He was in the process of completing his bucket list after friends raised more than £60,000 for him to travel around the world. He had hoped to visit Disneyland in Paris, as well as seeing Rome and Athens in their full glory. While challenges he set out to reach included driving a racing car, going on a hot air balloon ride and completing a sky-dive. But the engineering student, who had his right leg amputated (right) during his battle, passed away on Sunday.
Student, 21, who falls asleep for days at a time because of a rare disorder fears she will miss Christmas
Gemma Garfirth, 21, from Wellingborough, Northamptonshire, slept through a week of festivities three years ago - missing family gatherings, present-opening, and even Christmas dinner. The student suffers from the incurable sleep disorder - Kleine-Levin Syndrome. It often sees her fall into a trance - known as a 'sleep episode' - and nod off for an entire week and has played havoc on her life over the past five years. Around 1,000 people worldwide are affected and it is known to cause extreme exhaustion, paranoia and hysterical behaviour.
'Cool!': Former Marine exclaims with joy in video showing his incredible progress just 4 months after receiving double arm transplant
It is just four months since former Marine sergeant John Peck received a double arm transplant. But he is already showing incredible progress. Peck lost all four limbs after standing on a homemade bomb in Afghanistan in 2010. Now, the 31-year-old has reached a milestone he never thought possible: he has two fully functioning arms - and is gaining control of his right elbow. In a video posted to his Facebook page on Tuesday, Peck shared a short exercise with his physiotherapist, sliding a block forwards and backwards across a table. For most, it would be simple. For John, it marks a moment of triumph. He beams at the camera as his physiotherapist straps the wheeled block onto his arm. Viewers then watch as Peck visibly strains to push it away from him, and back to his chest, over and over again. Finally, after reaching his total, he says, 'cool!'
Woman, 27, discovers she has a tumour after visiting the dentist - which has now grew to the size of a GRAPEFRUIT and disfigured her face
Jennie Yoo (left), 27, from Bangkok, Thailand, suffered from discomfort in her two front teeth towards the end of last year. However, she assumed she would just need a filling. But her concerned dentist could not diagnose her problem and sent to a specialist in Seoul, South Korea. X-rays revealed she had cancer, which was causing a tumour in the left side of her jaw. Despite six rounds of chemotherapy (inset), it has continued to grow and has now disfigured her face (right) completely, twisting her nose and left eye.
Woman, 23, is accused of being DRUNK by strangers after a deadly mass on her brain left her slurring her words
Zoe Roscoe, (left) 23, from Bolton, was diagnosed with a brain AVM - a tangle of abnormal blood vessels which can bleed and expand - in 2013. It caused her to suffer stroke-like symptoms, and after a scan, she was told the mass on her brain was a 'ticking time bomb' (inset). She underwent radiosurgery (right) - which gives a high dose of radiation to a very small precise area - and the mass was removed. But it left her with severe weakness on her left side and now she's more prone to fall over and lose her balance, with strangers assuming she's drunk.
Girl, 12, dies just four weeks after she was sent home from school with a 'sick bug' which turned out to be rare form of cancer
Tia Llewellyn (inset and main), from Milford Haven, Wales, was given just a five per cent chance of survival by doctors. They revealed she had a rare childhood cancer and she was placed in an induced coma to undergo dialysis when her kidneys began to fail. But after contracting a chest infection and septicaemia, the schoolgirl passed away on Friday night. Her mother, Sarah Jane Howlin, turned off the adrenaline after doctors said there was nothing more they could do to keep her alive.
Victoria Miller (left), 30, from Rochdale, Lancashire, started suffering from them after contracting meningitis (riight in hospital) - a common after effect. It has forced her to leave her job as a legal assistant, as the pain often left her bedridden for days at a time. She had tried around 35 different drugs to relieve the pain, but nothing proved to work. But in January this year, she was given a series of Botox injections in her head as a last-ditch attempt to cure her. After having five rounds of the treatment - 200 injections in total - she says it has been 'life-saving' and has helped her get back on track.
Nathan Jack, 29, (left with fiancée Natalie Wharton, 31) from Newcastle, has suffered from the disorder since having a brain tumour as a teenager. Cluster headaches, which are believed to affect around one in 1,000 people worldwide, cause excruciating pain on one side of the head. But over the past three years, his condition has deteriorated to the point where he now suffers up to seven debilitating attacks each day. It has left him unable to work, drive and even has forced him to put his wedding on hold. Last week he posted a powerful clip of him punching himself in the head (right) as a result of the condition to raise awareness.
Tom, who was so full of life, was killed in a tragic hockey accident at the age of 22: Now his organs have helped up to FIFTY people in need of a transplant
At 22, Tom Wilson had a job he loved as a trainee surveyor with a London property developer. Then, after a terrible accident at hockey practice last December, he never returned from hospital. Shortly after his death, his family was asked whether they wanted to donate his organs. 'It's a decision you never think you will have to make,' says Lisa. 'It was an extremely selfless thought in the darkest of hours.'
The 50-year-old Mexican-American actress claims not to like the gym, but puts her muscles to work doing yoga and everyday chores, she says. ‘I don’t have time to exercise. I am working,’ she said. The mother-of-one also focuses on her posture, claiming: ‘I just hold my body in a way that activates muscles all day long.’ To replicate her toned back, we recommend the alternating overhead squat, which targets the upper and lower back.
How lying on your back for a hip operation can offer thousands a quick recovery: New technique replaces joints while causing minimal damage
Marci Maheson, a surgeon at Cardiff and Vale University Health Board, says: 'While we don’t fully understand what causes hip arthritis, in most cases it is the result of wear and tear as we age. Patients can exercise to strengthen muscles and lose weight, as this can put undue pressure on joints, and we can also prescribe painkillers or give steroid injections into the hip to reduce symptoms, but these are temporary measures.'
Man, 28, has to keep his right arm above his head for 16 HOURS a day after accidentally shooting himself
David Blount Jr (pictured left with his 20-month-old daughter, Jordynn), 28, blasted himself with his high-powered weapon just before a deer shoot in Montgomery, Texas, on November 19 this year. After undergoing three 30 minute operations (pictured right, a skin graft from his left thigh) - one every 48 hours for a week to monitor and clean the wound - he has been told to keep his arm elevated for 40 minutes out of every hour. Mr Blount, who is a father to a 20-month-old daughter and works as a plumber, may never fully regain feeling in his right arm.
Grandmother, 75, who went to hospital with a broken arm died from pneumonia and sepsis after she was left on a ward for three days because doctors did not know she was there
Patricia Fowler, 75, was not assigned to a doctor at Blackpool Victoria Hospital, Lancashire, because she was overlooked by a secretary who mistook her for another patient, an inquest heard. There was confusion over who was caring for Mrs Fowler and she was left to grow increasingly ill on a cardiac ward, even after her son raised concerns over her health. Mrs Fowler was eventually seen by doctors three days after being transferred to the ward but by that point had developed pneumonia and sepsis, which led to her death.
Schoolboy, 16, has his jaw re-built using his LEG BONES in a 19 hour operation after an orange-sized tumour ravaged his face
Adam McCalmont (right), 16, from Coleraine, Northern Ireland, was diagnosed with mesenchymal chondrosarcoma - a rare form of bone cancer - after complaining of a dull ache in his jaw. Doctors warned there was a chance operating on the tumour could permanently paralyse the schoolboy, or even kill him. Thankfully, chemotherapy proved to be successful and worked in shrinking the tumour. This allowed him to finally undergo a 19-and-a-half hour operation (left) to replace the ravaged muscles and arteries in his face with ones from his leg. He is still struggling to move the left side of his face, but doctors have high hopes for his recovery.
Could blasting brain with soundwaves help reverse Parkinson’s? Scientists trial new therapy which could help one million patients who have 'essential tremor'
Scientists at Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust in London are testing the therapy on 20 people with ‘essential tremor’, a brain disorder that causes uncontrollable shaking and affects around one million people in the UK. Those who suffer from tremors currently rely on drugs or an invasive procedure called deep brain stimulation, which involves surgically implanting electrodes into the brain. The shaking is caused by faulty circuits in the thalamus, a small area at the base of the brain.
Coffee shop festive treats that are full of sugar: How those cream-topped, syrup-flavoured drinks can contain up to 13 teaspoons
Last week we learnt that cakes at High Street coffee shops can contain astonishing amounts of sugar. Now, as Christmas draws near, they have rolled out their cream-topped, syrup-flavoured 'festive' drinks, costing more than their normal equivalents and also super-sweet. MATTHEW BELL tried some... He said of Starbucks' fudge hot chocolate: magine putting a Crunchie bar in a blender, then adding sugar and cream. The gold curls create a cheerful first impression but dissolved into a film that clung to my lips, leaving a strange synthetic flavour. I tried a classic hot chocolate afterwards and it tasted bitter compared with this sugary (but heart-warming) slurry.
Customer wins £90k from hair salon after shampoo and rinse gives him a stroke: Father-of-two suffers near-fatal blood clot when his head was bent backwards over the basin
Father-of-two Dave Tyler suffered a near-fatal blood clot while his head was bent backwards over a basin – the latest case of so-called beauty parlour syndrome. Experts believe that as the neck extends, the artery can over-extend and become torn, either blocking it completely or causing a clot which restricts blood supply to the brain. Sound engineer Mr Tyler began suffering headaches and collapsed during a business meeting two days after visiting the Headmasters salon in Brighton in 2011.
Interactive map lays bare America's devastating overdose epidemic as figures show drugs now kill more people than guns
Prescription opioids and illicit drugs have become incredibly pervasive throughout the U.S., and things are only getting worse. Overdose deaths have increased 137 percent since 2000. In fact, new figures released today revealed more than 50,000 Americans died from drug overdoses last year - the highest figure ever.
Former soldier was left in a coma and needs a kidney transplant after DOG slobber left him with a rare killer infection which covered his body in tennis-ball sized blisters
David Money (left), 51, from Manchester, spent six weeks in a coma (inset) as his body broke out in tennis-ball sized blisters (right). Doctors battled to keep him alive for five months in hospital after killer bacteria lurking in his dog's mouth seeped into an open wound. This caused him to develop sepsis after his immune system went into overdrive as it tried to fight the infection. Against all odds the HGV driver pulled through, but not before his kidneys both failed - leaving him needing life-saving dialysis every other day.