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History of the Brain

Paul Broca

Paul Broca.

Paul Broca, a neurological clinician and researcher, determines the location of the speech center of the brain.
He bases his findings on his study of an institutionalized patient in Paris, France, who had suffered a stroke as the result of a syphilitic lesion on the left frontal lobe of his brain. This patient could understand language, but had lost his capacity for speech. In fact, he was called "Tan" because this was the only syllable he could still speak. Broca's work with Tan and other brain-damaged patients convinces him that the integrity of the left frontal lobe is crucial to speech and that damage to this region results in aphasia. He eventually pinpoints the site of the speech center of the brain as being in the third gyrus of the prefrontal cortex. This section of the frontal lobe is now known as Broca's area.


Courtesy of the National Library of Medicine.

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