|Brain: Wernicke's area|
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|Approximate location of Wernicke's area highlighted in gray|
Wernicke's area is a part of the human brain that forms part of the cortex, on the left posterior section of the superior temporal gyrus, encircling the auditory cortex, on the Sylvian fissure (part of the brain where the temporal lobe and parietal lobe meet). It can also be described as the posterior part of Brodmann area 22 and is usually located in the left hemisphere, as that is where the specialized language skill areas can be found for the majority of people. Occlusion of the middle cerebral artery in a stoke can effect the proper functioning of this area.
Wernicke's area is named after Karl Wernicke, a German neurologist and psychiatrist who, in 1874, discovered that damage to this area could cause a type of aphasia that is now called Wernicke's aphasia or receptive aphasia.
This condition results in an impairment of language comprehension and in speech that has a natural-sounding rhythm and a relatively normal syntax, but otherwise has no recognisable meaning (a condition sometimes called fluent or jargon aphasia).
Wernicke's work initiated the study of this brain area and its role in language. It is particularly known to be involved in the understanding and comprehension of spoken language.
It is connected to Broca's area by a neural pathway called the arcuate fasciculus. It also has connections to the primary auditory cortex, evidence for its role in the comprehension of the spoken word.
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