Autism is a growing problem in the US. Forty years, ago, about 1 in 10,000 children was diagnosed with autism. Now the incidence is up to 1 in 63 among boys.

Some parents believe their children developed autism after receiving a dose of the MMR (measles-mumps-rubella [German measles]) vaccine. The vaccine controversy began after a 1998 article that appeared in the British journal Lancet. That journal published a retraction of the original article last year. Now, on January 5, 2011, the British Medical Journal published a report saying that the original 1998 article was “an elaborate hoax.”

I believe there is a real connection between vaccines and autism. But saying that vaccines are the sole cause of autism is like saying cholesterol is the sole cause of heart disease. It simply isn’t true. So what’s been causing the shocking increase in autism over the past 40 years?

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