Jeffrey Balzer, PhD

Associate Professor
Director, Clinical Services, Center for Clinical Neurophysiology
Director, Cerebral Blood Flow Laboratory


Jeffrey Balzer

Contact

412-648-9779

Biography

Jeffrey Balzer, PhD, is director of clinical operations and staff clinical neurophysiologist at the Center for Clinical Neurophysiology and director of the Cerebral Blood Flow Laboratory at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.

His current research interests range from the utilization of genetic biomarkers for the prediction of delayed cerebral ischemia in subarachnoid hemorrhage to the effects of exercise on arterial stiffness and cerebral blood flow. Dr. Balzer received his undergraduate education at the University of Pittsburgh, where he also pursued a graduate education and a PhD in behavioral neuroscience.

He is also the secretary/treasurer of the American Board of Neurophysiological Monitoring and is on the board of directors of the American Society of Neurophysiological Monitoring. He has published 79 refereed articles and 15 book chapters

Specialized Areas of Interest

Intraoperative neurophysiological monitoring, subarachnoid hemorrhage, cerebral blood flow and effects of exercise on cerebrovascular function.

Board Certifications

American Board of Neurophysiological Monitoring

Hospital Privileges

Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC
Excela Health System
Jameson Hospital
Monongahela Valley Hospital
UPMC Altoona
UPMC Hamot
UPMC Horizon
UPMC McKeesport
UPMC Mercy
UPMC Passavant
UPMC Presbyterian
UPMC St. Margaret’s
UPMC Shadyside

Professional Organization Membership

American Clinical Neurophysiology Society
American Association for the Advancement of Science
American Society for Neurophysiological Monitoring (Fellow)
New York Academy of Sciences
Pittsburgh Neuroscience Society

Education & Training

BS, Behavioral Neuroscience, University of Pittsburgh, 1984
MS, Behavioral Neuroscience, University of Pittsburgh, 1989
PhD, Behavioral Neuroscience, University of Pittsburgh, 1994
Fellowship, Neurophysiology, University of Pittsburgh, 1994

Selected Publications

Trivedi D, Navid F, Balzer JR, Joshi R, Lacomis JM, Jovin TG, Althouse AD, Gleason TG. Aggressive aortic arch and carotid replacement strategy for type A aortic dissection improves neurologic outcomesAnn Thorac Surg 101(3):896-905, 2016.

Nwachuku EL, Balzer JR, Thirumala PD. Diagnostic value of somatosensory evoked potential changes during carotid endarterectomy: A systematic review and meta-analysisJAMA Neurol 72(1):73-80, 2015.

Yousef KM, Balzer JR, Bender CM, Hoffman LA, Poloyac SM, Ye F, Sherwood PR. Cerebral perfusion pressure and delayed cerebral ischemia after aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhageAm J Crit Care Nursing 24(24):E65-E71, 2015.

Ying T, Thirumala P, Chang Y, Habeych M, Crammond DJ, Balzer JR. Empirical factors associated with brainstem auditory evoked potential monitoring during microvascular decompression for hemifacial spasm and its correlation to hearing lossActa Neurochir (Wien) 156:571-575, 2014.

Thirumala PD, Carnovale G, Habeych M, Crammond DJ, Balzer JR. Diagnostic accuracy of brainstem auditory evoked potentials during microvascular decompressionNeurology 83(19):1747-52, 2014.

Ying T, Thirumala PD, Shah A, Nikonow T, Wichman K, Holmes M, Hirsch B, Chang YF,  Gardner P, Habeych M, Crammond DJ, Burkhart L, Horowitz M, Balzer JR. The incidence of high frequency hearing loss after microvascular decompression for hemifacial spasmJ Neurosurg 118(4):719-24, 2013.

Balzer JR, Tomycz ND, Crammond DJ, Habeych M, Thirumala PD, Urgo L, Moossy JJ. Localization of cervical and cervicomedullary stimulation leads for pain treatment using median nerve somatosensory evoked potential collision testingJ Neurosurg 114(1):200-205, 2011.

Smith PN, Balzer JR, Khan MH, Davis RA, Crammond D, Welch WC, Gerszten P, Kang JD, Donaldson WF, Sclabassi RJ. The utility of somatosensory evoked potential monitoring during anterior cervical discectomy and fusion in non-myelopathic patients - A review of 1039 casesThe Spine Journal 7(1):83-87, 2007. 

Pindzola RR, Balzer JR, Nemoto EM, Goldstein S, Yonas H. Cerebrovascular reserve in patients with carotid occlusive disease assessed by Stable Xenon/CT cerebral blood flow and transcranial DopplerStroke 32:1811-1817, 2001.

Balzer JR, Rose RD, Welch WC, Sclabassi RJ. Simultaneous SSEP and EMG recording during lumbosacral decompression and instrumentation. Neurosurgery 42:1318‑1325, 1998.

A complete list of Dr. Balzer's publications can be reviewed through the National Library of Medicine's publication database.

Research Activities

Dr. Balzer is currently investigating the effects of exercise on arterial stiffness and its relationship to cerebral blood flow. The study uses an intervention, cross-over design comparing sedentary behavior with mild and moderate exercise. Arterial stiffness is measured using pulse-wave velocity and cerebrovascular blood flow is measured using non-invasive transcranial Doppler examinations. The clinical implications of potential changes in peripheral and cerebrovascular processes, if confirmed, are significant for not only overall health but also for the potential prevention and treatment of degenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s.

Dr. Balzer also is currently helping to develop a new surgical instrument, in collaboration with CMU robotic engineers, designed to increase the safety of tumor removal during surgery using an animal model. He and his collaborators have developed a sciatic tumor model that can mimic the same degree and type of EMG discharge seen during tumor removal in patients. The data collected from these experiments will be instrumental for “programming” the new device.