DR. PAUL BROCA
(1824-1880)


Early on in life in his native France, at the tender age of 17 he started his monumental life as a prosector and he eventually became Secretary of the Societé-Anatomique. As a neurological clinician but also as a researcher, he wrote effusively- well over 500 presentations (none ever considered mediocre). A classic 900 page monograph on aneurysms came forth from his gifted pen and he even experimented with hypnotism on a series of surgical cases. Even with considerably opposition, he helped introduce the microscope in the diagnosis of cancer. But he is best known amongst so many other accomplishments for his contribution to neurology the concept of functional localization by cerebral convolution. And with his aged father looking on with silent admiration in a memorable meeting in 1862 he demonstrated the brain lesion of his first patient who had suffered from aphémie (renamed aphasia later by Armand Trousseau (1801-1867)). From this presentation and from other ongoing observations he concluded that the integrity of the left frontal convolution was responsible and necessary for articular speech (David Ferrier 1843-1928) is responsible for naming this region "Broca’s convolution- the motor speech area."



Brain of patient with motor aphasia.
Studied by Broca is preserved uncut.


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