Bypassing Broca's: How elementary Hebrew helped a man save his language

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What if our brain was one big mush with no specific functions in specialized areas? Chapter 3 would certainly be easier. However, there could be negative reprecussions as well. Damage to the brain would have a variety of negative effects as opposed to more limited effects in certain areas.

My blog today is about Aphasia- a loss or reduction of language following brain damage typically a result of a stroke. In Chapter 3, Lilienfeld discusses the different areas of the brain associated with language. To my surprise, there was more than one area affiliated with language in the brain. For example, the Broca's area is located in the frontal lobe and is responsible for speech production. In the neighboring temporal lobe, the Wernicke's area is responsible for understanding speech. I was intrigued that language functioned in two separate lobes. It would seem sufficient that one function would be located in one specific part of the brain. Imagine if the Psychology department had classrooms located on the east bank, west bank, and St. Paul campuses. It would be inconvenient. However, the brain seems to function quite effectively with its diversified areas of function. Perhaps there is a deeper reason for the brain set up.

Two years ago, a Hebrew elementary teacher I knew, suffered a stroke. Fortunately, the man survived, however he began experiencing symptoms of Aphasia and was unable to communicate coherently in English. However to much surprise, this former Hebrew elementary teacher was able to speak and understand Hebrew. Perhaps, primary language is developed in one part of the brain while secondary language is developed in a different part. The implications of such studies could potentially have huge effects. Over one million people in the U.S. suffer from Aphasia today and learning a secondary language might be the best solution. However with all considerations, one still must still remember that this is just a case study and there are many other victims who were not as fortunate. Furthermore, there could be other plausible reasons for this phenomena. If we could some how replicate this transaction and record similar results, this hypothesis would be much stronger. Overall, there is much to learn in this topic and this case study should be further investigated. ?מה אתם חושבים (What do you think?)

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This page contains a single entry by hillm109 published on September 30, 2011 7:23 PM.

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