Saturday, July 18, 2009

Language Pathways

I'm looking at the arcuate fasciculus, a white matter fiber tract that serves as a relay between the Broca and Wernicke region of the brain. As background, I'm reading some papers by Marco Catani who has done some interesting work on the language networks in the brain.

Language models have their roots in the 19th century and in the first part of this paper, Catani et al. survey these early models. Then as now, the understanding progressed in small increments, and indeed the picture is still evolving. One physician, Reil, identified the arcuate fasciculus, perhaps in the dead of night in a cold disection room full of cadavers. A second (Burdach) named these fibers. A third, Wernicke, proposed a model linking the Broca and Wernicke regions and a fourth, Constantin von Monakow, suggested that this link was in fact the arcuate fasciculus.

(To be updated)

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