Re: Broca's Brain Was: Any thoughts?

Arthur L. Baron (abaron@STU.ATHABASCAU.CA)
Thu, 1 Aug 1996 11:42:04 MDT

> In a message dated 96-07-29 07:11:23 EDT, mason@CIE.FR (Timothy Mason)
> writes:
> > It is now
> > preserved in the Musie de l'Homme - just above Paul Broca's brain.
> I know this is off subject...
> Who was Paul Broca and why does the phrase "Broca's Brain" come so easily to
> me? (Who knew Alzheimers could come so early?)
> - Adrienne

In 1861 language was specifically related to the left side of the brain. At a
scientific symposium in Paris Paul Broca stated that we speak using the left
hemishere in his report that damage to the anterior part of the left hemishere
(inferior frontal gyrus) resulted in loss of speech, whereas damage to the
right side did not - hence lateralization. In 1836, in a paper unknow to
Broca, Mark Dax made a similar claim, but little attention was paid to it.

Patients who suffer damage to this area are termed Broca's aphasia which is the
neurological term used to refer to any acquired (as opposed to developmental)
language disorder that follows a localized brain lesion caused by a stroke, a
tumor, a gunshot wound, or an infection. Linguistic studies use the term
agrammatism synonymously with Broca's aphasia, although some Broca's patients
are not agrammatic and some agrammatics would not be classified as Broca's.

In 1873, Carl Wrenicke described another variety of aphasia in patients with
damage in the posterior left temporal lobe. Unlike Broca's, Wrenicke's
patients could speak fluently but had lexical problems (word substitutions)
often with phonological errors. Differnt stokes for different folks.

arthur baron