Dr Alex Ford qualified from the University of Leeds in 1997. During his registrar training he conducted a 2-year period of research funded by the Medical Research Council, obtaining an MD from Leeds University. From October 2007 to September 2008 he completed a sabbatical year in the Gastroenterology Division of McMaster University Medical Centre, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, and was appointed as a Senior Lecturer in Medicine and Honorary Consultant Gastroenterologist at St. James’s University Hospital, Leeds in January 2010.
His clinical and academic areas of expertise include the investigation and treatment of gastro-oesophageal reflux disease, Barrett’s oesophagus, dyspepsia, peptic ulcer disease, coeliac disease, irritable bowel syndrome, chronic constipation, and inflammatory bowel disease. He performs upper endoscopy, flexible sigmoidoscopy, and colonoscopy.
His research interests in Gastroenterology are clinical, mainly from an epidemiological and health services perspective, and use techniques such as cross-sectional survey, systematic review, and meta-analysis.
He studied the role of Helicobacter pylori in various upper gastrointestinal diseases, and the efficacy and cost-effectiveness of eradication of the bacterium in treating these diseases, as well as the efficacy and costs of screening for and treating infection with the bacterium in the general population. He also studied the natural history of functional gastrointestinal disorders, such as dyspepsia and irritable bowel syndrome, during prolonged periods of follow-up. He is also interested in the use of gastrointestinal symptoms reported by patients to predict underlying organic and functional gastroenterological disorders.
In 2008 he performed a series of systematic reviews and meta-analyses recently to inform the American College of Gastroenterology position statement on the management of irritable bowel syndrome. This examined the efficacy of various pharmacological therapies in the treatment of the disorder (Figure), as well as the value of screening for organic diseases, such as celiac disease and small intestinal bacterial overgrowth, in individuals with symptoms that are highly suggestive of the condition. This body of work has been cited more than 550 times.
In 2010 he conducted a series of systematic reviews and meta-analyses recently to inform the American College of Gastroenterology position statement on the management of inflammatory bowel disease, again examining the efficacy of pharmacological therapies for both ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease. This work has also been highly cited (194 times to date).