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Both sides of the brain proven to be totally functional in speech

In a discovery that changes present concepts of brain activity involved in speech by direct measurement of brain activity, Bijan Pesaran, an associate professor in New York University's Center for Neural Science and Thomas Thesen, director of the New York University ECoG (Electrocorticography) Center have shown that all parts of speech are functional in both sides of the brain in an article published in the Jan. 15, 2014, issue of the journal Nature.

Approximate location of Broca's area highlighted in gray. One of the two speech centers in the brain.
Approximate location of Broca's area highlighted in gray. One of the two speech centers in the brain.
NIH publication 97-4257 Public domain as a work of the U. S. Government.

The researchers recorded the brain activity of people who had electrodes directly implanted in both hemispheres of the brain in the areas that are known to be involved in speech. The patients were asked to repeat words that were not really words. The electrical signals produced in the brain were essentially the same in both hemispheres of the brain.

This discovery means that both sides of the brain can function in listening, speaking, interpreting language, and understanding sentences. Previous universally accepted thought was that the functions were distinctly separated between the two hemispheres of the brain.

The major application of this discovery is planned to facilitate the improvement of speech in people who have suffered strokes or have lost one of the speech regulating regions of the brain due to disease or accident.