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What happens when the Broca's area is damaged?

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Quick Answer

The University of California San Francisco's Memory and Aging Center explains that a disturbance to the Broca's area impedes spontaneous speech and speech motor control. Damage can cause poor articulation and extremely slow speech.

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UCSF's Memory and Aging Center also indicates that the damage causes labored speech. People suffering from Broca's aphasia have a hard time recalling important nouns and adjectives. Most sufferers cannot write after damage to the Broca's region. However, some patients can still understand language when they read words or when a person speaks to them.

The Broca's area is located in the frontal part of the brain on the left hemisphere. According to the Encyclopedia Britannica, the Broca's area controls speech and the ability to articulate words into streams of thought. Thus, when Broca's aphasia occurs, it can have a debilitating effect on the person's communication skills. The damage forces people to speak in fragmented sentences that include only nouns and verbs. This is known as telegraphic speech. Recent research shows that language comprehension may be lower in Broca' area patients than previously thought.

Princeton University explains that Paul Broca, a French neurosurgeon who performed experiments on patients suffering from language problems, discovered the Broca's area.

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