This chapter outlines various ways in which social science has contributed to a better understanding of the cultural and environmental factors affecting health and disease. The social sciences have had a modicum of success in demonstrating the importance of culture in defining illness and disease. However, another more important impact has resulted from research on the social organization of health and illness. Even the educated middle class "middle American" uses home remedies, engages in some magical and ritual practices, but ultimately turns to culturally approved and "anointed" medical specialists when the condition worsens or persists. Following the "beliefs and practices" stage, anthropologists began to realize that health itself and the ways in which people define disease and illness are themselves culturally determined. The presence or absence of intestinal or other parasites and bacteria may itself be considered an environmental factor which may also be affected by other environmental conditions, In warm moist climates infection is more difficult to control.