A woman in her 40s lay on the surgical table of neurosurgical ward in the Christian Medical College (CMC), Vellore, a small, unremarkable town in the southern part of India. The woman, most probably from one of the northeastern states had traveled a long way to Vellore, obviously to access the superior medical services offered by CMC. A member of the team of surgeons that surrounded the woman was asking her to count numbers from 1 through 10. She began to count aloud with her strong northeastern accent but stopped suddenly midway as though she was interrupted by an invisible force. That force was the electrical stimulation—mild shocks—delivered by another member of the team to Broca’s area, a brain region responsible for control of our speech, typically located in the left hemisphere in right-handed people. Shocks delivered to this area by the surgeon interfered with ongoing counting. The surgeon placed a tiny piece of paper with a number printed on it, at the spot where they found a moment ago where stimulation stopped speech. The piece of paper is the surgeon’s landmark for Broca’s area.
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