Objectives for Future Research in Understanding the Effects of Ethanol on the Gastrointestinal Tract
This chapter summarizes some of the effects of ethanol on the gastrointestinal tract and to identify some areas that merit further investigation. The metabolic and functional lesions that arise in the liver are well characterized and, compared to the intestinal tract, have been thoroughly investigated. There is sufficient epidemiological evidence to suggest that increased numbers of esophago-gastrointestinal cancers occur when then there is concomitant alcohol abuse and cigarette smoking, compared to the incidence due to alcohol ingestion or cigarette smoking alone. The transition from invasive to noninvasive technologies can be exemplified by blood flow measurements. If stool output of carbohydrate, fat, or protein is not measured it is difficult to determine the primary cause of the diarrhea or its metabolic significance. With reference to genetic polymorphism, there is a growing body of literature relating to the addiction process and hepatic damage.