Newswise — Long before anyone thought about the nuances of nerve conduction studies, Dr. Ralph M. Buschbacher realized weaknesses existed regarding the foundation of the techniques and interpretations of clinical nerve conduction tests.

Due to his innovations in the field of electrodiagnostic medicine, Dr. Buschbacher has been nominated for this year’s American Association of Neuromuscular and Electrodiagnostic Medicine (AANEM) Innovation Award.

The AANEM is the premier nonprofit membership association dedicated to the advancement of knowledge, education, and technology in the fields of neuromuscular (NM), musculoskeletal (MSK), and electrodiagnostic (EDX) medicine. Its annual Achievement Award winners highlight prolific members of AANEM and their contributions to advancing these fields of medicine.

In the 1990s and 2000s, Dr. Buschbacher conducted seminal research regarding normative nerve conduction data. His research analyzed the variations in reference values by age, gender, body mass index, and height. These norms, and his work, were so visionary that the AANEM Normative Data Task Force recommended these references values to AANEM’s entire membership. Dr. Buschbacher’s nominator for this award described his studies as “some of the most innovative we have ever had in the field.”

“I knew enough from statistics that the values generally in use did not have a large enough sample size to be optimal,” Dr. Buschbacher said of his work. “There were limitations. I started this research just thinking about myself and my own patients, and later realized that it had applicability to others as well. Age, gender, height, BMI, they weren’t being looked at as normative values. I thought the numbers had to be taken to the next level.”

He hopes his research will lead to better quality of care for all.

“I hope that my work allows people to come up with more accurate diagnoses, to make more precise decisions when it comes to having surgery or not having surgery, more accurate direct treatment programs, among other benefits. There are a lot of electrodiagnostic studies being done around the world. The more precise we can be, the better.”

Dr. Buschbacher received his medical degree from the University of Virginia and PM&R residency training at the Medical College of Virginia Hospitals. His education included an internship at the Spartanburg Regional Medical Center in South Carolina and a research enrichment program at the Missouri Arthritis Rehabilitation Research Center/National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research. He currently serves as a professor and past Chair of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at the Indiana University School of Medicine and works for Hoosier Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. He has been an AANEM member since 1994.

“AANEM is such a great, well-run group with strong camaraderie. It publishes a lot of great resources that are highly influential, and the Annual Meeting is fantastic. It’s had a big impact on me.”

To learn more about AANEM and its Achievement Award winners, visit

About American Association of Neuromuscular & Electrodiagnostic Medicine (AANEM)

Based in Rochester, Minnesota, the American Association of Neuromuscular & Electrodiagnostic Medicine (AANEM) is the premier nonprofit membership association dedicated to the advancement of neuromuscular (NM), musculoskeletal and electrodiagnostic (EDX) medicine. The organization and its members work to improve the quality of patient care and advance the science of NM diseases and EDX medicine by serving physicians and allied health professionals who care for those with muscle and nerve disorders.

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