Drilling zone (part of the brain): functions and their relation to language

Broca’s region is one of the parts of the brain what more attention have they received in researching the neurobiological mechanisms that explain our use of language, whether spoken or written? This is because clinical studies related to this area of ​​the cerebral cortex show that there are different parts that specialize in different aspects of language.

In this article, we will see what the Broca zone is and how it relates to the use of language, through a summary of the characteristics of this part of the brain.

    Drilling zone: what is it?

    Throughout history, attempts to understand how the brain works have led to attempts to study the mental processes that run parts of it, as if they were systems relatively isolated from the rest. The Broca region was one of the first regions of the central nervous system to be associated with a concrete mental process and differentiated from the rest.

    Specifically, Broca’s area is the part of the brain that is responsible for the articulation of language in one of its forms. Thus, both in writing and orally, this portion of the central nervous system specializes in the production of a message with internal coherence and articulated by means of the corresponding linguistic fractions, whether they are letters or of phonemes. In other words, it works by making it possible to use language in an abstract sense, without being constrained either alone in speech, or only in literacy.

    However, it is also true that no part of the brain functions completely independently from the rest of the structures of the nervous system. As much as the Broca zone is described as a brain structure associated with language, it should be remembered that it does not work in parallel with other nerve cells, but is coordinated with very extensive neural networks distributed throughout the brain. , and without which she could not perform her duties.

    Location of this part of the cerebral cortex

    Broca’s region located in the third frontal gyrus (in the frontal lobe) of the left cerebral hemisphere, although in some exceptional cases it is in the right hemisphere. More precisely, according to Brodmann’s map, it occupies the Brodmann zones 44 and 45, Close to the eye and attached to the front of the temporal lobe.

    Of course, keep in mind that the exact location of Broca’s area may vary slightly from individual to individual, and there are even cases where it is visibly out of place compared to the average human brain. This is due to the fact no two brains are alike due to genetic differences and the effect of brain plasticity over time: descriptions of the cerebral cortex speak of general patterns, not exact rules.

    Broca’s aphasia

    The discovery of the Broca region came from clinical cases in which patients with this damaged area were unable to write and pronounce well even though they could understand what they were being told. This established the existence of a syndrome known as Broca’s aphasia, Characterized by all the typical symptoms that appear when there is an injury in the region of Broca and other parts of the brain have been relatively preserved.

    More specifically, the main symptoms are:

    • Problems when repeat words.
    • Lack of fluency when trying to speak or write.
    • The ability to understand texts and spoken language is preserved.

    This syndrome is particularly distinguished from another type of aphasia linked to a part of the brain called the Wernicke region. This is Wernicke’s aphasia, in which, compared to Broca’s aphasia, language and writing are much more fluid, but the ability to make sense of what is said or said is lost. read or listen, so we don’t understand what others say.

    It should be noted that injuring one part of the brain, be it Broca’s or Wernicke’s area, also indirectly affects other parts of the brain, so the symptoms that appear do not exactly reflect the tasks performed by those parts.

      Is it possible to cure the diseases associated with this type of injury?

      In general, neurological disorders resulting from brain damage are not treated with medical procedures, although there are rehabilitation treatments that help alleviate their symptoms. On another side, brain plasticity can cause the brain to “adapt” to this injury over time and learn how to get other parts of the brain to perform the functions performed by the injured area.

      Functions of this brain region

      Currently, the Broca area is associated with these main mental functions and processes:

      • Language production.
      • It helps to create spoken or written language, establishing strings of words and letters or phonemes.
      • Regulation of speech-related gestures.
      • When we speak, we usually move other parts of our body so that this information complements what we say aloud. All this, moreover, happens spontaneously, and it is thanks to the work of the Broca region.
      • Recognition of grammatical structures.
      • The Broca region reacts in a specific way c **** uan you read or hear a grammatically constructed sentence
      • Regulation of the pronunciation of phonemes.
      • This part of the left frontal lobe is also responsible for monitor spoken phonemesSo, it recognizes when a part of the word doesn’t sound the way it should.
      • Regulation of speech rhythm.

      In addition, the Broca region is also responsible for working with another important element of the production of the spoken language: the tenses. In this way, it allows us to give our speech the right rhythm. On the other hand, in the phase immediately preceding pronunciation, it inhibits the appearance of phonemes other than those corresponding to each part of the word.

      It should be noted that neuroscience is constantly advancing, which is why what we know today about the tasks performed in the Broca region may only be the tip of the iceberg.

      On another side, we must avoid falling into the simplistic belief that the region of Broca “produces” language. Different parts of the brain may specialize more or less in different psychological functions, but they always work at the same time, in a coordinated way with each other. They need each other and what happens there is not isolated from the rest of the biopsychological phenomena that occur in thousands of other parts of the nervous system and the body in general.

      Its relationship with the Wernicke region

      As we have seen, the Broca region is a test that not all parts of the brain are responsible for doing the same. Even language, which is apparently a unique skill, is made up of many others that can be separated.

      The Wernicke region is the other major area of ​​language involved in the use of this mental faculty. This is why it communicates with the Broca region through a set of forward-directed neural axons. Injuries in either domain, or in all of the axons that communicate the two, produce different types of aphasia.

      Bibliographical references:

      • Ardila, A .; Bernal, B .; Rosselli, M. (2016). “How localized are the linguistic brain areas?” A review of the participation of Brodmann domains in oral language. Archives of Clinical Neuropsychology 31 (1): pages 112-122.
      • Binkofski, F., Amunts, K., Stephan, KM, Posse, S., Schormann, T., Freund, HJ, Zilles, K., Seitz, RJ (2000). “The Broca region provides motion imagery: a combined study of cytoarchitecture and fMRI.” Mapping of the human brain. 11 (4): 273-285.
      • Caplan, D. (2006). “Why is the Broca region involved in the syntax? “. Cortex; A journal devoted to the study of the nervous system and behavior. 42 (4): 469-71.
      • Fadiga, L., Craighero, L. (2006). “Hand actions and speech representation in the Broca region”. Cortex; A journal devoted to the study of the nervous system and behavior. 42 (4): 486-90.

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