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People Who Changed The World: Paul Broca

June 24, 2022    7 min read

Paul Broca, was born on 28th June, 1824, He was a renowned surgeon who also helped develop modern physical anthropology in France.

Paul Broca did make revolutionary progress in the study of brain lesions and the loss of articulation owing to speech impairment. He passed away in 1880 but before his death, he founded the anthropology laboratory at the École des Hautes Études, Paris (1858), and the Société d’Anthropologie de Paris (1859).

An interesting story, created a turn in his career span and led to new discoveries. In April of 1861, a 51-year old man was transferred to Paul Broca's surgical ward in a hospital in France. The man, whose name was Leborgne, had always been epileptic but his health was gradually deteriorating. Surprisingly, he could only utter the word Tan and is today an interesting case study in psychology textbooks. It was around that time through Tan’s (as the patient was addressed) that Broca took more interest in understanding brain’s important in fluency of speech, the part of the brain that influenced our ability to speak clearly As he refined the research and continued to study this patient, his understanding of the connect between our brain and speech became a scientific breakthrough in the world of medicine and biology.

The Broca area (in our brain), was named after Paul Broca. It is the region in our brain that contains specific neurons that influence our function. This area, located in the frontal part of the left hemisphere of our brain and its importance in our speech function, was discovered in 1861 itself by Paul.

If you are wondering what is the broca area then it lies in the third frontal convolution, just anterior to the face area of the motor cortex. Simply put it helps us to a certain extent in speech comprehension and hand movements as well. Post this discovery it has become easier for medical practitioners to help their patients regain their speech and hand movement.

Practically Celebrates This Revolutionary Surgeon On The Day Of His Birthday

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