Jean-Baptiste Bouillaud and Ernest Auburtin:  Early Studies on Cerebral Localization and the Speech Center

Byron Stookey, MD, DSc
JAMA. 1963;184(13):1024-1029. doi:10.1001/jama.1963.73700260007011.
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THE IMPORTANT and repeated communications of Jean-Baptiste Bouillaud and Ernest Auburtin in establishing the principle of cerebral localization and the existence of a speech center have not been accorded the recognition that is rightly theirs. In challenging the opinion of Flourens and Gratiolet and their experimental work, Bouillaud beginning in 1825 and Auburtin between 1861 and 1866 repeatedly showed the importance of clinical studies and pathological anatomy in determining cerebral physiology. Disease was used in the interpretation of physiology thus anticipating Hughlings Jackson. The controversy over cerebral localization and the determination of a speech center led, only a few years later, to the work of Fritsch and Hitzig and of Ferrier.

As early as 1825 Bouillaud1 held that every physician familiar with clinical work had had frequent opportunities to observe motor disturbances produced by disease of the brain, yet, in spite of ample clinical and pathological evidence, Flourens


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