Localization of Brain

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Paul Pierre Broca’s(1861) study on patients with injuries or strokes supports the evidence of localization of functions of the brain. Localization of functions of the brain is defined as different functions of the brain are set in different areas of the brain. Broca found the language area within the brain, which controlled speech and comprehension. That area has been named, Broca’s area. One specific case study of his was on one of his patients named Tan.

Broca was a doctor and had many patients with disabilities visit him. One of his most notable patients was named Tan. The patient was named Tan due to his inability to produce any other words than “tan.” While Broca was working with Tan, he also began to realize that despite the fact that Tan can not speak, he can still comprehend part of what Broca would say. When Tan died, Broca performed autopsy on Tan’s brain. Broca found out that the left side of the frontal lobe of Tan was damaged. To see if the that area, Broca’s area, was the reason why Tan could not speak, Broca performed autopsy on several other patients who have suffered the same disability as Tan. After several autopsies on other patients, Broca concluded that the area of what we call Broca’s area, was responsible for what Tan had suffered; patients can comprehend but not produce speech. Broca also found that no other areas of the brain were damaged in most patients that had the disorder so he concluded that the left side of the frontal lobe functioned as a speech centre.

Some concerns of the study would be its ethics, since Broca did not manage to get consent from Tan to open up his brain and it is unethical to open up a dead person’s brain to look for injuries. Since one part of the brain was damaged and the rest seemed fine, Broca concluded that Broca’s area was the speech function of the brain. Other studies from other researchers, such as Carl Wernicke and John Harlow, have all found different areas of the brain that perform different...
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