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Dietary Considerations in Autism: Identifying a Reasonable Approach

Johnson, Teresa W. MACT, RD, LD


Autism is the most common developmental disorder in the United States, with the number of diagnosed cases increasing secondary to more sensitive screening methods. Because autism has no known cause or accepted treatment approach, many parents and physicians have employed a number of dietary manipulations to alter the effects of the so-called leaky gut, which is believed by some to be the underlying cause of the regressive behaviors particular to autism. However, the link between autism and a gastrointestinal pathophysiology is not substantiated by research. The dietary approaches employed are cumbersome, not proven to be efficacious, and may further narrow the food choices of the child with autism.

Troy University School of Nursing, Troy, Ala.

Corresponding author: Teresa W. Johnson, MACT, RD, LD, 3915 Sunset Dr, Montgomery, AL 36109 (e-mail:

© 2006 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.