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May 1977

Johann Baptist Schmidt: A Pioneer in the History of Aphasia

Author Affiliations

From the Neurobehavior Unit, Cleveland Veterans Administration Hospital and Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland.

Arch Neurol. 1977;34(5):306-307. doi:10.1001/archneur.1977.00500170060011

• Wernicke is usually credited with the first significant description of comprehension disorders in aphasia. Before Wernicke, however, others had reported patients with impaired comprehension. This communication deals with one of those pioneer papers, that written by Schmidt, an obstetrician, in 1871. It concerns a 25-year-old woman who developed sudden language difficulty ten days after delivery. She had trouble understanding oral or written language. Through careful examination, Schmidt showed that she was neither deaf nor psychotic. He concludes his paper with a prediction of the area of the brain he suspected to be involved. Schmidt's paper represents an early, noteworthy effort to clarify the relations between brain and behavior.

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