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Monday, December 21, 2009

The Spelling Spot

It has long been known that particular areas in the brain are responsible for specific functions.  Damage to Broca’s area impairs your ability to produce language.  If it’s the Wernicke region that’s injured, you can’t understand language.
Now Kyrana Tsapkini and Brenda Rapp from Johns Hopkins University have identified a part of the brain responsible for reading and spelling. They studied a patient who suffered from a brain tumor.  His treatment consisted of removing a portion of his brain called the left mid-fusiform gyrus. Prior to the surgery, the patient’s reading and spelling abilities had been normal. Afterwards, however, it was a different story.
Although the patient could still understand spoken language, he had great difficulty in understanding written text and in spelling. This suggests that the portion of the brain that was removed is critical for normal, rapid reading.