Pierre Marie was born in Paris in 1853. He first studied law, then turned to medicine. He was an intern in Broca’s and in Charcot’s departments and assisted Charcot in his private practice. In 1888 Marie became physician to the Paris hospitals. The next year the title of agrégé was conferred on him. With Brissaud he founded the Revue Neurologique in 1893 and the Société de Neurologie de Paris in 1899. In 1895 he was appointed head of the Infirmerie de Bicêtre. In 1907 he became professor of pathological anatomy at the University of Paris, and in 1917 he succeeded Dejerine as professor of clinical neurology (The first occupant of this chair had been Chorcot). Marie retired in 1925 and died at Pradet near Cannes in 1940.
the nature of aphasia:
(1) Marie thought that there was only one aphasic syndrome, , which was characterized by oral comprehension difficulties and paraphasic speech. Aphasia could not be subdivided into different syndromes. was not a homogeneous syndrome but a combination of genuine aphasia (i.e. Wernicke’s aphasia) and anarthria. In 1917, after he had examined a large number of soldiers with traumatic aphasia, Marie somewhat revised his theory of aphasia, allowing that Wernicke’s aphasia could be subdivided (clinically) into temporal aphasia, posterior aphasia, and what he called a limited aphasic syndrome.
(2) Aphasia was the consequence of a special intellectual impairment.
(3) Marie rejected the possibility of pure verbal deafness because he could not believe that someone would lose the ability to understand speech while retaining his other verbal skills.
the nature of anarthria:
(1) Anarthria was a disorder of articulate speech, that is, a disturbance of the complex movements of respiration, phonation, and articulation in speech. This condititon usually combined with Wernicke’s aphasia to form Broca’s aphasia. However, it could also occur in isolation, in which case inner speech, oral comprehension, reading, and writing were preserved.
(2) According to Marie, anarthria was the same as pure motor aphasia, which was also called sub-cortical motor aphasia.
(3) Anarthria was not aphasia. In his 1906 papers Marie stated that Broca’s aphasia was a combination of Wernicke’s aphasia and anarthria.
the localization of Broca’s aphasia and of pure anarthria:
(1) Marie attacked what he regarded as the dogma of the third frontal convolution. In his view, the foot of the third left frontal gyrus could not be considered to be the localizatiion of Broca’s aphasia, as there were cases of destruction of the posterior part of this gyrus in righthanded individuals without ensuing aphasia, and conversely there were cases of Broca’s aphasia in which the third left frontal convolution had been found to be intact. According to Marie, Broca’s aphasia always resulted from a lesion simultaneously destroying part of Wernicke’s area and part of what he called the lenticular zone.
(2) In pure anarthria, the lesion lay in the lenticular zone. Indeed, the condition could result directly from damage to the lenticular nucleus. Moreover, the causal lesion could be in either hemisphere, in contrast to injuries entailing aphasia, which were always confined to the left hemisphere.
Henry Head (1926) called Marie an iconoclast because he denied the existence in the brain of something like auditory, visual, or motor images of words. Marie also refused to allow that there were separate centers for the understanding of spoken and written language.
Marie also warned against diagram-making in aphasiology. Such diagrams were gross oversimplification of the clinical reality. Moreover, they represented their author’s prejudices and biases too much to be of any use.
examination of aphasia:
In several of his publications Marie insisted that aphasics should be extensively examined, and he pointed out that some deficits would only show if the patients were given special tasks. He specifically recommended that comprehension be tested otherwise than by just asking the patients such customary questions as “Close your eyes” or “Cough”. He himself devised several clinical tests, one of which is still occasionally used: the Three-Paper Test.