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September 1976

Brain Specialization for Language: Not Dependent on Literacy

Author Affiliations
Div of Neurology Univ of Mississippi Medical Center Jackson, MS 39216
Arch Neurol. 1976;33(9):662. doi:10.1001/archneur.1976.00500090068015

To the Editor.—  It may be that brain specialization for language does not depend on literacy as Damasio and co-workers contend (Arch Neurol 33:300, 1976), but we do not believe it has been proved in their study any more than the converse was proved by ours.1 They note that, of their 38 illiterate patients, 24 had focal lesions of the left hemisphere and 14 of the right. Twenty of the 24 were aphasic. These numbers raise the suspicion that the illiterate patients may have been preselected, possibly by avenue of referral for left hemisphere lesions and, conceivably, aphasia. Also, one cannot tell from their study how many of the 209 literate patients had left or right hemispheric lesions; therefore, the comparison of literate and illiterate patients for aphasia is not possible.