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November 1961

Culture, Society, and Health

Arch Intern Med. 1961;108(5):806-807. doi:10.1001/archinte.1961.03620110146027

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From the time that disease has been recognized as influencing the many, thought has been given to causative factors. Religion pointed to the celestial, but a more mundane consideration emphasized the terrestrial. Limiting the discussion to the latter, environment held the stage for centuries beginning before the time of Christ and extending to the Golden Era of Bacteriology. During this period emphasis on organisms as causative agents of disease gained ascendancy. Genetics also flourished during the period, and due attention was accorded host factors. In recent years the Social Sciences have emphasized the importance of the environment, and we have come full circle in disease causation. In fact, for a time the humanities proclaimed the fact that man is solely the product of his environment. The parasite or agent was acknowledged reluctantly, and man, as host, was relegated to a minor position. There is evidence in the last decade that

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