Wernicke’s area has moved

Georgetown university medical center researchers recently found that Wernicke’s area is actually 3 centimeters closer to the front of brain. Of course this finding will have people editing the anatomy textbooks but it also suggests that we are closer to non-primates in terms of our language processing. The current location is closer to the location of Wernicke’s area in non-primates thus suggesting an evolutionary link.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/01/120130171905.htm

Now that the location of this area is similar across primates and non-primates, presence of a highly complex language in humans needs to be accounted for. Studies have shown that leftward asymmetry in Wernicke’s area originated before the evolution of modern human language as this asymmetry is also seen in Chimpanzee.

http://rspb.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/early/2010/03/13/rspb.2010.0011.long

Even though there are anatomical links between humans and non-primates in the brain structure, humans may have evolved some specific strategies that helped them along in the development of a sophisticated language. This would be an interesting area to investigate.

But apart from this, what influence do you think this change in location of Wernicke’s area will have on speech and language therapy in people with aphasia?  3 cms distance may not sound much but is quite significant considering the size of brain. However will this location change impact the way language is processed by humans? It is imperative to know the influence of this location change on interconnections within the brain. If it does influence the interconnections then maybe we need to rethink language processing.