Why Are Identical Twins More Likely to Faint than Their Fraternal Counterparts?

By Anthony Smith on August 7, 2012 2:01 PM EDT

Twins
Twins. (Photo: Flickr.com/EralPhemalia)

If you're the proud parent of identical twins, you may also want to be the proud owner of identical helmets.

According to an analysis of a new study undertaken by Neurology, the industry leader and golden standard for all science findings related to the field of brain study, identical twins are conclusively more inclined to bouts of fainting than their fraternal counterparts.

And before you go dismissing the margin of difference as negligible, you may want to keep reading. Said identical twins are, on average, twice as likely to faint than fraternal twins. it's proof of a genetic predisposition towards fainting here.

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But the big question here is, of course, "Why the heck does this happen?"

"The twins study has revealed that the complex causes of fainting are both genetic and environmental," said Sam Berkovic, the author of the study and a Department of Medicine professor at the University of Melbourne. According to his findings, doctors who have debated on the mechanics behind fainting have been divided on whether or not the strange circumstance is caused by either the patient's environments or hir genetics, or some combination of both.

This new study may provide healthcare providers new hope in treating and getting to the bottom of this fainting "epidemic" that afflicts, according to Melbourne, approximately one-fourth the population of identical twins. Prof Berkovic continued, "More information about the genetic and environmental mechanisms behind the conditions will improve treatments for those who suffer frequent fainting attacks as well as improving diagnosis."

Vasovogal syncope, more romantically referred to as fainting, is caused by certain triggers such as stress, the sight of blood, or high anxiety. It includes, but is not limited to, blackouts and dizziness; it shouldn't be confused with epilepsy, in spite of having the same symptoms. Since identical twins, defined by their sharing the same genome, usually grow up in a shared environment with their sibling, it will be hard for scientists to determine which of the two factors is stronger here.

© 2012 iScience Times All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.

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