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Cortex. 2008 Sep;44(8):953-61. doi: 10.1016/j.cortex.2008.04.002. Epub 2008 May 23.

The arcuate fasciculus and the disconnection theme in language and aphasia: history and current state.

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Natbrainlab, Section of Brain Maturation, King's College London, Institute of Psychiatry, London, UK.


Few themes have been more central to neurological models of aphasia than the disconnection paradigm and the role of the arcuate fasciculus. Introduced by luminaries of 19th Century neurology and resurrected by the charismatic work of Norman Geschwind, the disconnection theme has triggered spectacular advances of modern understanding of language and aphasia. But the disconnection paradigm had alternate fortunes, ranging from irrational exuberance to benign neglect, and its followers have not always shared the same view on its functional consequences and anatomical correlates. Our goal in this paper is, first, to survey the 19th Century roots of the connectionist approach to aphasia and, second, to describe emerging imaging technologies based on diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) that promise to consolidate and expand the disconnection approach to language and its disorders.

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