In English class, your grade does not differentiate between how large your vocabulary is and how well you write a sentence, but new research shows that your brain does. This evidence may mean that increasing your vocabulary does not necessarily influence one’s fluency when learning a new language.

Two parts of the brain, Broca’s area and Wernicke’s area, play a large part in processing language. Broca’s area has been linked to speech comprehension as well as production, and Wernicke’s area is involved in written language and some speech comprehension. Neuroscientists have long known that these two areas communicate because there are two pathways of white matter between them, but how and what the pathways do has been unclear until now.

Associate professor in the Department of Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences at the University of Arizona Stephen Wilson tested 27 individuals with language impairments due to brain damage. (They’re called aphasias by neurologists.) Wilson used a combination of MRI brain imaging (to determine which particular pathway was damaged) and language assessment tasks (to determine what language deficiencies they exhibited). He found that patients could process different linguistic components based on which pathway of white matter between Broca’s area and Wernicke’s was damaged. Damage to one pathway affected vocabulary and damage to the other pathway affected syntax.

In an interview with the University of Arizona, Wilson says, “If you have damage to the lower pathway, you have damage to the lexicon and semantics. You forget the name of things, you forget the meaning of words. But surprisingly, you’re extremely good at constructing sentences.” About the other pathway, he says, “With damage to the upper pathway, the opposite is true; patients can name things quite well… but when it comes to figuring out the meaning of a complex sentence, they are going to fail.”

There has also been speculation that syntax is a skill that distinguishes humans from other animals who have a basic vocabulary, like monkeys and dogs. However, other evidence of species like songbirds comprehending syntax contradicts those theories.

Do you notice that vocabulary and syntax feel different to you?

An end to open heart surgery; The keyhole operation for a new valve that could mean… Good Health.

Daily Mail (London) March 1, 2005 Byline: MARTYN HALLE OPEN heart surgery could become a thing of the past for thousands of people thanks to a new keyhole procedure performed under local anaesthetic.

Cardiologists are pioneering a technique where a damaged heart valve is replaced through a small incision in the leg.

Currently, replacing a heart valve requires major open heart surgery, a lengthy stay in hospital and six weeks of convalescence. But the new technique can be performed with the patient awake under local anaesthetic. site open heart surgery

The patient is then free to go home the same day.

So far, the technique has been performed on only a handful of patients in America and Europe.

But cardiologists say the results have been so good that, in future, it is likely that all valve replacements will be done this way.

In Britain, thousands of people – many of them in their 60s and 70s – undergo heart surgery each year.

Heart valves tend to calcify (harden) with age, making it difficult for them to open. If that happens, there is an inadequate flow of oxygen-rich blood and the patient starts experiencing breathlessness.

A faulty valve can, however, affect people of all ages. Valve problems – unlike other types of heart disease – are not linked to poor diet, and a valve can simply wear out sooner in some people than in others.

Patients’ symptoms are normally picked up by GPs, who refer them to specialists, but a significant minority don’t get diagnosed in time and their condition deteriorates so much that they become too weak for surgery and die.

All the patients who have so far undergone the new procedure fell into this category and would have died without treatment. this web site open heart surgery

The technique involves pushing a hollow tube called a catheter through the femoral vein in the groin and up towards the heart.

Using a scanner and ultrasound, the catheter is positioned near the diseased valve.

The replacement valve – made of human or animal tissue and mounted on a metal frame or stent – is pushed through the tube with a guide wire until it gets to the diseased valve.

As the new valve is moved into place, the stent pushes the old valve into the wall of the heart, where it remains – without causing any problems – for the rest of the patient’s life.

The cardiologist tests the valve to make sure it is firmly embedded, then the catheter and the wire that guided the replacement is removed and the procedure is over.

After an hour of lying flat on a treatment table, the patient is ready to get up and go to a recovery room. After two days’ rest at home, they can resume normal daily life. The metal frame stays in place.

So far, none of the treatments have been carried out in Britain, but Dr Duncan Dymond, a cardiologist at Barts Hospital in London, says the chance of replacing heart valves without major surgery is very exciting.

‘I have seen videos of very sick patients having this procedure, and after an hour they get up completely rejuvenated,’ he says.

It is far less risky for the patient than open heart surgery, during which the patient is put on a heart-lung machine.

‘Open-heart surgery is a major operation lasting several hours, with a mortality of around 5 per cent and an eight-week recovery period,’ says Dr Dymond.

He says that if full-scale trials are successful, the new procedure will become the norm for all heart-valve patients, possibly within three years.

‘If we could replace open-heart surgery with the cardiologist doing the work in a catheter lab, that would be a major advance. I look forward to the result of the trials.’ Cardiologists are unable to predict which people will develop heart-valve problems, but those with a genetic defect are at greater risk.

Normally, the heart valve has three leaf-like ‘cusps’, which open and close to let blood flow through the aorta (the heart’s main pumping chamber). But 25 per cent of people are born with only two cusps, and these are more likely to be prone to valve problems, says Dr Dymond.

He added: ‘What is important is that if anyone experiences symptoms of breathlessness that are unusual, they should go to their GP. Delaying seeking help could make them so ill that they can’t have an operation.’ HOW IT WORKS Catheter tube fed up femoral artery from groin to heart New valve fed through catheter and located inside faulty valve Mesh around new valve expands, letting valve anchor itself in place and push old valve aside


  1. oniya -  February 25, 2012 - 9:48 am

    you can do that expand your vocabulary you find nifty stuff like this i can said it fast than you.

  2. Cassandra -  January 5, 2012 - 10:57 am

    Gotta love when you come to look up a word to expand your vocabulary you find nifty stuff like this.

  3. RAJ -  December 27, 2011 - 10:22 am

    I think i have this prombem. What can i do to make Broca’s area and Wernicke’s area work better? Does anyone know?

  4. Vickie Rankin -  December 26, 2011 - 9:14 am

    If any of you want to find more info on the brain I would highly recommend you google Dr. Gregory J. O’Shanick, Md. He is the medical director of The Center for Neurorehabilitation Center in Midlothian Va and was the Medical director for the Brain Injury Association of America since 1980 until this past year. He now is a chair member of some kind. He is brillant in the field of brain injury and the study of the brain. This site will take you there http://www.biausa.org/ Its the Brain Injury association of america

  5. sidney -  December 9, 2011 - 2:08 am

    Ernest, I read once in a book by Steven Pinker (if im not mistaken) that humans are born with a built-in grammar structure which is what enables them to use language, whereas words and their meanings must be learned. So one may be able to put adjectives, nouns, verbs and so on in the right order, without necessarily knowing their meanings.

  6. SYNTAX | BLOGCHI@mayopia.com -  December 7, 2011 - 1:48 pm

    [...] ‘Syntax’ would solve a buncha problems — economically speaking. — Though What is Sin and Taxable [...]

  7. Vikhaari -  December 7, 2011 - 11:59 am

    Brain–a univesre of mystery and not easy to fathom.
    A fascinating article, so very enjoyable.
    Thank you.

    Thank you also to/@ smootius.
    Thank you very much for your kind notice. I am reassured now that at least they, my wrtten pieces, went there, floated and roamed about for your reading pleasure. Believe it not I have very limited access to school computer because mine –brand new TOSHIBA– was disabled, and done things to last year Sept/Oct. I am a somehow part time and mature student on writnig course; must stop to study for exam.
    Once again my sincere apology to you and others for any annoyance, irritation etc have caused….

  8. Ambiguous User -  December 7, 2011 - 10:59 am

    I’ve always known that words and syntax ‘felt’ different. I’ve noticed that ever since learning Spanish that I can pick up the grammar of other languages much faster than vocabulary. Perhaps because I learned grammar/syntax as a baby first in English? Then a short time later, learned the words? My Mom said I learned 2K words by the time I was 2. I remember reading that native-language words get stored in one area, and every other language gets stored (often) everywhere in the brain.

  9. em -  December 7, 2011 - 9:39 am

    Storing or incubating words in our brain is mechanical and has little to do about how we use them and when to use them….. bottom line is how we can relate our own experiences, past and present, to these words (new and old) Using these words depends on, not only how far we can remember the term, because no matter how obscure a word is and if this word can describe or compare a certain feeling or experience we had, that experience alone will help our brain take another “path” to say it. What I’m trying to point out is the ability of an individual to write well is not “mechanical” but the combination of both mechanical and psychological…

  10. hootan -  December 7, 2011 - 8:48 am

    That’s cool.I would rather read simple things about brain or other vital organs in spite of reading complex context about them.

  11. android658 -  December 7, 2011 - 8:19 am

    Well it means that if there’s a new language that you want 2 learn, then your brain will translate the words that u don’t kno

  12. God and my 3 GIRLS -  December 7, 2011 - 8:09 am

    Responding to Cyndi Cochran–
    Pray, connect with your brain your conscience and subconscience your heart and most definetely your heart. Amen -9

  13. ADD&love'n it -  December 7, 2011 - 7:30 am

    A few of you are descibing simple ADD–forgetting words, forgetting things, needing to read long, difficult sentences several times before comprehension. Find a quiet place or quiet time of day when there are no distractions and the brain works better.

  14. vocabularyvssyntax -  December 7, 2011 - 7:11 am

    Syntax, vocabulary and spelling are necessary to form a meaningful sentence. Example: The sheriff shot the man with a knife.
    This is a sentence with perfect vocabulary use but the syntax is wrong. Without the proper syntax, the sentence means that the sheriff used a knife, not a gun, to shoot a man.

    Syntax and vocabulary aren’t synonyms.

  15. justcannotthinkofit -  December 7, 2011 - 7:02 am

    …..you could be on your way to being a rocket scientist. I know several and you describe them well. It sounds like you may have some savant tendencies; that’s a good thing.

  16. justcannotthinkofit -  December 7, 2011 - 6:46 am

    Perfectly healthy, normal people can forget words they use daily. It does not mean you are brain damaged. However, if you are worried, then see a doctor. A dent in your head doesn’t necessarily mean brain damage. Nor does the lack of a dent mean you are not brain damaged.

    The area where a brain is damaged causes different symptoms, for example, a bump on the back of the head can cause blindness.

    I have the problems you mention. It is worse when I take certain medications. A few people have mentioned autism as a possible cause. That also happens with dementia (Alzheimer’s is a form of dementia). Anxiety alone can cause the problems you describe.

    If you are really concerned, see a doctor and perhaps a psychologist. You may not need to see a neurologist specializing in that brain function.

    I concur with your rumination.

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