USA Today posted this article regarding the link with brain development, gastrointestinal repair, autism, and the gene MET. It seems that in 118 of 214 cases, the MET gene variation was identical for those with both autism and gastrointestinal problems. This could account for nearly 30% of autistic patients who also suffer from gastrointestinal problems, and about 10% of non-autistic people.
While this is great news, it is not by any means the smoking gun for the cause of autism, but it is a piece of the puzzle as it effects brain development and connections within the brain after development. As many have posted in my comments in other posts, many autistic children suffer from gastrointestinal disorders, as well as seizures, and a number of other health problems.
Some of these disorders can be associated with life in and of itself. Just because you have cancer doesn't mean you can't die of a heart attack. The same is true with autism. Just because you are autistic doesn't mean you can't have allergies, poor vision, diabetes, or other disorders. But this research specifically linked gastrointestinal disorders with brain development. That's huge.
What I really found interesting about this report is that USA Today was not touting it as the smoking gun, but rather said right off the bat that it does not account for all instances of autism. This, to my mind at least, is ground-breaking journalism. After reading article after article regarding "cures" for autism by treating another disorder like Fragile X Syndrome, it's nice to see the admission that a discovery is not the end all beat all in the quest to learn about the most diverse spectrum that is Autism.