Biography & Research:
Dr. Ashford graduated from the University of California, Berkeley (1970) and completed his MD (1974) and PhD (1984) degrees, and Psychiatry Training (1979) at UCLA. His Ph.D. dissertation was a finalist for the Lindsley Prize, for the best in Behavioral Neuroscience for the Society for Neuroscience, in 1984. In his dissertation, Dr. Ashford was the first to demonstrate massive reciprocal processing by neurons in the brain. His original observations laid the foundation for understanding how Alzheimer’s disease affects the neurons of the brain. In 1981 he published the first double-blind study of a cholinesterase drug to treat Alzheimer’s disease, the class of drugs which is currently the most widely prescribed for this condition. In 1985, he proposed the Neuroplasticity Hypothesis of Alzheimer’s disease, based on the concepts newly discovered in his PhD dissertation studies. This theory is still the leading model for understanding the pathology of Alzheimer’s disease and has recently been updated.
Dr. Ashford was assistant professor, associate professor, and researcher at Southern Illinois University, the University of California, Davis, and the University of Kentucky, where he was vice-chair for research in psychiatry from 1991 to 2003. Since 2003, Dr. Ashford has been a Senior Research Scientist at the Stanford / VA Aging Clinical Research and Alzheimer's Disease Centers, and he is currently the Director of the War Related Illness and Injury Study Center at the VA Palo Alto Health Care System and Clinical Professor of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences at Stanford University (affiliated). He is Chair of the Memory Screening Advisory Board of the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America, which coordinates the AFA National Memory Screening Initiative. Dr. Ashford has extensively studied memory mechanisms in the brain and applied his concepts to the development of approaches to evaluating and screening for memory problems and understanding Alzheimer pathology, which point to clear directions for preventing Alzheimer’s disease in the foreseeable future.
Dr. Ashford has developed a computerized memory measurement system to screen for memory problems, dementia, and Alzheimer’s disease: www.memtrax.com . This memory test, which is interesting, engaging, and challenging, has the potential to efficiently screen for the earliest signs of Alzheimer’s disease and serve as a precise, inexpensive, and practical approach for daily to monthly repeated assessments to test Alzheimer treatment and prevention methods.