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June 1986

Paul Broca's Less Heralded Contributions to Aphasia Research: Historical Perspective and Contemporary Relevance

Author Affiliations

From the University of Southern California Neurobehavior Clinic and the Department of Neurology, University of Southern California School of Medicine, Los Angeles.

Arch Neurol. 1986;43(6):609-612. doi:10.1001/archneur.1986.00520060071021

• In addition to discovering the dominant role of the left hemisphere for language and describing what is now known as Broca's aphasia, Paul Broca made other insightful, but less well-recalled, aphasiologic observations. He distinguished symptoms of Wernicke's aphasia five years before Carl Wernicke's famous monograph, and he was the first to exploit the surgical relevance of language localization. Broca investigated the anatomic substrate of language laterality by comparing the relative weights of the two hemispheres and the two frontal lobes. He considered language lateralization from a developmental point of view and in relation to handedness. A relatively small portion of Broca's prodigious scientific career was devoted to the study of aphasia, but his seminal work encompasses a number of issues of contemporary concern.

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