Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Complex brain landscape controls speech

Date:
September 22, 2010
Source:
Helmholtz Association of German Research Centres
Summary:
Up to now, Broca's region in the brain has been thought to comprise two areas, since it was discovered in 1861, it has been regarded as one of the two regions in the cerebral cortex responsible for language. The conception of the neuroanatomical basis of our speech must be revised in its entirety, new research suggests.

Broca's region is classically regarded as the motor centre for speech. Our ability to form phonemes and words is controlled here. According to the maps of the cerebral cortex developed by Korbinian Brodmann, which are still in use today, Broca's region is composed of two areas. Over the last few years, however, researchers have begun to question this subdivision as a result of experience gained in clinical studies and the findings of magnetic resonance imaging analyses.

"Lesions in Broca's region could result in a dozen different language problems," says Professor Katrin Amunts, brain researcher at Forschungszentrum Jόlich and first author of the study. "For example, in articulation but also in comprehension or in grammar, as linguistic studies have shown. This tends to suggest a much more complexly structured centre of language than was previously believed."

The scientists therefore decided to take a closer look at the cytoarchitecture and distribution of different receptors in Broca's region. Receptor molecules are the key to signal transduction between neurons -- and can therefore help to further classify structurally similar regions. If the distribution of receptors is different in these regions, then the functions of the brain at these locations must also be different. "We discovered that Broca's region does not just comprise two areas, but rather several -- all of which form a highly differentiated mosaic," says Professor Karl Zilles, co-author of this study. "It's a complex world that's dedicated to our faculty of speech."

The study shows, for example, a clear difference in the distribution of one receptor between the Broca areas of the two cerebral hemispheres and slight differences in the case of the other receptors. Further studies are required to determine whether this is the molecular basis for the different clinical findings in patients with lesions in Broca's region either exclusively in the left or right brain hemisphere. Patients with lesions in the left brain hemisphere completely lose their ability to speak, while those with lesions in the right-hand side can still articulate correctly but lose their speech melody.

"One of the tasks for the future is to conduct a detailed functional analysis of the new organization of Broca's region and to investigate the interaction of the previously unknown areas," says Amunts. A new project has already begun on the analysis of the second region in the brain responsible for the faculty of speech -- Wernicke's area. Classically, this area is thought to be involved in the understanding of language.

The discovery in question of several molecularly and cellularly different cortical areas in Broca's language region and in neighbouring areas shows that our faculty of speech is actually embedded in a much more differentially developed brain landscape than we have believed for the past 150 years. The findings are not just important for language research and the diagnosis and treatment of strokes. They also alter the neurobiological basis for current discussions on the evolutionary development of language, speech training and language disorders.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Helmholtz Association of German Research Centres. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. David Poeppel, Katrin Amunts, Marianne Lenzen, Angela D. Friederici, Axel Schleicher, Patricia Morosan, Nicola Palomero-Gallagher, Karl Zilles. Broca's Region: Novel Organizational Principles and Multiple Receptor Mapping. PLoS Biology, 2010; 8 (9): e1000489 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pbio.1000489

Cite This Page:

Helmholtz Association of German Research Centres. "Complex brain landscape controls speech." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 22 September 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/09/100921171341.htm>.
Helmholtz Association of German Research Centres. (2010, September 22). Complex brain landscape controls speech. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/09/100921171341.htm
Helmholtz Association of German Research Centres. "Complex brain landscape controls speech." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/09/100921171341.htm (accessed September 21, 2014).

Share This



More Mind & Brain News

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Could Grief Affect The Immune Systems Of Senior Citizens?

Could Grief Affect The Immune Systems Of Senior Citizens?

Newsy (Sep. 19, 2014) — The study found elderly people are much more likely to become susceptible to infection than younger adults going though a similar situation. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Food Addiction Might Be Caused By PTSD

Food Addiction Might Be Caused By PTSD

Newsy (Sep. 18, 2014) — New research shows that women who suffer from PTSD are three times more likely to develop a food addiction. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Corporal Punishment on Decline, Debate Renews

Corporal Punishment on Decline, Debate Renews

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) — Corporal punishment in the United States is on the decline, but there is renewed debate over its use after Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson was charged with child abuse. (Sept. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
FDA Eyes Skin Shocks Used at Mass. School

FDA Eyes Skin Shocks Used at Mass. School

AP (Sep. 15, 2014) — The FDA is considering whether to ban devices used by the Judge Rotenberg Educational Center in Canton, Massachusetts, the only place in the country known to use electrical skin shocks as aversive conditioning for aggressive patients. (Sept. 15) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins