In the March 2009 issue of the medical journal Pediatrics it was reported that researchers at Vanderbilt University have linked a specific gene related to brain development AND gastrointestinal tract repair to autism. The MET gene comes in a variety of "forms". Children who inherit two MET "C" alleles (a portion of DNA) have twice the risk of developing autism as children who inherit the MET "G" allele. The genetic variation MET C allele, turns down production of MET (a protein), and therefore may influence gut repair, brain development as well as some other body functions.
While this study does not suggest that changing diet will "cure" autism, it does support the often reported observation that kids with autism have GI issues such as pain, constipation or diarrhea. Helping kids address tummyaches leads to better attention, improved mood, greater participation in therapies and generally better eating and nutrition.