The researchers collected data on family history, age, gender, as well as smoking and drinking at the time of a colonoscopy, from 2 000 patients. Those with a history of colorectal cancer, inflammatory bowel disease or polyps were excluded from the study.
Significant colorectal polyps found in 1% of wine-drinking smokers, 18% of those who drank other forms of alcohol, and 12% of abstainers.
Colorectal polyps of greater than one centimeter were identified in only one percent of smokers who drank wine, compared with 18 percent of those who drank beer or grain-based alcohol and 12 percent of those who did not drink alcohol.
Dr Joseph Anderson, an assistant professor of clinical medicine at SUNY, in presenting the findings to the 65th Annual Scientific Meeting of the College of Gastroenterology in New York City, called the findings surprising. He went on to warn that the researchers did not look at the effects of exercise or the consumption of red meat or fruits and vegetables, and would need to do so before drawing any final conclusions.