Department of Neurology

Department of Neurology
faculty photo

Laura Joan Balcer, M.D., M.S.C.E.

Adjunct Professor of Biostatistics and Epidemiology
Chief, Multiple Sclerosis Division, Department of Neurology, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine
Senior Scholar, Clinical Epidemiology Unit, Center for Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine
Department: Biostatistics and Epidemiology

Contact information
Department of Neurology
3 East Gates Building
3400 Spruce Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104
Office: 215-349-8072
Fax: 215-662-3362
Graduate Group Affiliations
B.S. (Biology)
College of William and Mary, 1987.
M.D. (Medicine)
The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, 1991.
M.S.C.E. (Clinical Epidemiology)
University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, 2000.
Post-Graduate Training
Intern in Medicine, Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, 1991-1992.
Resident in Neurology, Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, 1992-1995.
Fellowship, Neuro-Ophthalmology, Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, Scheie Eye Institute, Philadelphia, 1995-1996.
American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology Certificate # 42767 , 2006.
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Description of Research Expertise

Dr. Balcer’s primary research focus is on the identification and development of clinical visual outcome measures for multiple sclerosis (MS) trials. Dr. Balcer’s group, funded jointly by the National Eye Institute and the National MS Society, focuses on determining which clinical tests best identify visual dysfunction in patients with MS. These studies have also examined the relation of visual function to neurologic impairment, magnetic resonance imaging abnormalities, and health-related quality of life. Data from these and other investigations at U. Penn have led to the inclusion of low-contrast letter acuity as a secondary outcome measure in 2 international MS treatment trials. A new ocular imaging technique, optical coherence tomography (OCT), has been used to examine retinal nerve fiber layer and macular thickness as biologic markers of neuronal and axonal loss in patients with MS.

Description of Clinical Expertise

Neuro-Ophthalmology; Neuro-Ophthalmologic features of multiple sclerosis (MS)

Selected Publications

Fisher M.J., Loguidice M., Gutman D.H., Listernick R., Ferner R.E., Ullrich N.J., Packer R.J., Tabori U., Hoffman R.O., Ardern-Holmes S.L., Hummel T.R., Hargrave D.R., Bouffet E., Charrow J., Bilaniuk L.T., Balcer L.J., Liu G.T. : Visual outcomes in children with neurofibromatosis type 1 - associated optic pathway glioma following chemotherapy: a multicenter retrospective analysis. Neuro-Oncology 14: 790-797, 2012.

Balcer L.J., Galetta S.L., Polman C.H., Eggenberger E., Calabresi P.A., Zhang A., Scanlon J.V., Hyde R. : Low-contrast acuity measures visual improvement in phase 3 trial of natalizumab in relapsing MS. Journal of the Neurological Sciences 318: 119-124, 2012.

Moss H.E., McCluskey L., Elman L., Hoskins K., Talman L., Grossman M., Balcer L.J., Galetta S.L., Liu G.T. : Cross-sectional evaluation of clinical neuro-ophthalmic abnormalities in an amyotrophic lateral sclerosis population. Journal of the Neurological Sciences 314: 97-101, 2012.

Walter S.D., Ishikawa H., Galetta K.M., Sakai R.E., Feller D.J., Wilson J.A., Maguire M.G., Galetta S.L., Frohman E.M., Calabresi P.A., Schuman J.S., Balcer L.J.: Ganglion cell loss in relation to visual disability in multiple sclerosis. Ophthalmology 119: 1250-1257, 2012.

Galetta K.M., Graves J., Talman L.S., Lile D.J., Frohman E.M., Calabresi P.A., Galetta S.L., Balcer L.J.: Visual pathway axonal loss in benign multiple sclerosis: a longitudinal study. Journal of Neuro-Ophthalmology 32: 116-123, 2012.

Davies E.C., Henderson S., Balcer L.J., Galetta S.L.: The King-Devick test and sleep deprivation: study in pre- and post-call neurology residents. Neurology 78: e103-106, 2012.

Warner C.V., Syc S.B., Stankiewicz A.M., Hiremath G., Farrell S.K., Crainiceanu C.M., Conger A., Frohman T.C., Bisker E.R., Balcer L.J., Frohman E.M., Calabresi P.A., Saidha S. : The impact of utilizing different optical coherence tomography devices for clinical purposes and in multiple sclerosis trials. PloS One. Page: e22947 2011.

Waldman A.T., Stull L.B., Galetta S.L., Balcer L.J., Liu G.T. : Pediatric optic neuritis and risk of multiple sclerosis: meta-analysis of observational studies. Journal of the American Academy of Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus (J AAPOS) 15 : 441-446 2011.

Ko M.W., Chang S.C., Ridha M.A., Ney J.J., Ali T.F., Friedman D.I., Mejico L.J., Volpe N.J., Galetta S.L., Balcer L.J., Liu G.T.: Weight gain and recurrence in idiopathic intracranial hypertension: a case-control study. Neurology 76: 1564-1567, 2011.

Davies E.C., Galetta K.M., Sackel D.J., Talman L.S., Frohman E.M., Calabresi P.A., Galetta S.L., Balcer L.J.: Retinal ganglion cell layer volumetric assessment by spectral-domain optical coherence tomography in multiple sclerosis: application of a high-precision manual estimation technique. Journal of Neuro-Ophthalmology 31: 260-264, 2011.

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Last updated: 07/17/2012
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