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Controversies in Neurology
June 2008

Localizing Cortical Function Is Occasionally Impossible

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliation:Division of Child Neurology, Ohio State University College of Medicine, Columbus.



Arch Neurol. 2008;65(6):845-846. doi:10.1001/archneur.65.6.845

Accuracy is occasionally impossible; we can only be right in nineteen cases by being wrong in the twentieth. It is well to realize this. But remember that in practice we have to treat that which is only probable as if it were certain.—William R. Gowers

The concept that specific cortical functions take place in a particular brain region no longer generates much debate, but the fact that a task occurs in 1 area does not mean that the area can be easily identified. Nevertheless, the ability to pinpoint the seat of language and memory has enormous practical importance when contemplating surgery for epilepsy and other conditions.