Benjamin and Patrick Binder, who spent their first seven months joined at the head, are seriously underdeveloped but have the potential to lead normal lives, said doctors preparing to release the babies from the hospital.

The separated twins, now 14 months old, will return to Germany in the next few days, physicians at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore said Tuesday. Benjamin should begin crawling soon and will go home to Ulm, West Germany, with his parents. Patrick will go to a German hospital for observation."There is no reason for us to think they will not continue to improve," said Dr. Ben Carson, a member of the medical team that has treated the infants since they were admitted in August.

"They have made very substantial prog-ress in the past few months, and we're very hopeful the potential will culminate in normal existence," Carson said at a news conference.

However, Dr. Mark Rogers stressed that the boys are not now normal. Their development is equivalent to that of 2-to-5-month-old babies.