The language network of the brain seemed simpler in the past. One brain area was recognized to be critical for the production of language, another for its comprehension. A dense bundle of nerve fibers connected the two.
But there have always been naysayers who pointed to evidence that failed to fit this tidy picture. Now a study employing a powerful variant of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) confirms these suspicions. The study will be published December 13, 2004 in the online edition of Annals of Neurology. "We were surprised that the two classical language areas were densely connected to a third area, whose presence had already been suspected but whose connections with the classical network were unknown," said lead author Marco Catani, M.D., of the Institute of Psychiatry at Kings College London.
The authors dubbed this language area "Geschwinds territory" in honor of the American neurologist Norman Geschwind who championed its linguistic significance decades ago.
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