Review Category : Health

Your Body: Preventing C. Diff Infections

iStock/ThinkstockBy DR. JENNIFER ASHTON, ABC News Senior Medical Contributor

Approximately 1,000 hospitals in the U.S. are struggling to contain clostridium difficile (C. diff), a potentially life-threatening bacterial infection, according to a new Consumer Reports survey.

Hospital staff need to make sure they’re following basic hygiene. In the survey, only about half the people who had been hospitalized said they always saw their doctor or nurse wash their hands.

Another recommendation is for doctors to stop prescribing so many antibiotics.

Here’s my take:

  • Ask your health care provider if the antibiotic you are given is the right one for the infection you have — it’s not one size fits all.
  • If you’re given an antibiotic, finish the entire course or treatment. Don’t stop just because you feel better.
  • Never take someone else’s medication.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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Kendall Jenner Reveals Health Scare: What Is Sleep Paralysis?

Timothy White/E!(NEW YORK) — Model and reality TV star Kendall Jenner revealed she often wakes up feeling paralyzed in an upcoming episode of Keeping Up With the Kardashians.

“I wake up in the middle of the night and I can’t move,” Jenner, 20, said in a newly-released sneak peek of the episode.

The symptoms Jenner described on TV — waking up temporarily unable to move or speak while your mind is completely awake — could be sleep paralysis, according to doctors.

“For many people it’s this feeling of almost fear that you want to move your body but you can’t,” said Shelby Harris, a clinical psychologist and director of the Behavioral Sleep Medicine Program at the Sleep-Wake Disorders Center at New York’s Montefiore Medical Center. “It typically lasts for a few seconds to as long as two minutes.”

The clip shows Jenner arguing with family members over the severity of her health scare. Her mom, Kris Jenner, tells her, “I think you’ve just got anxiety.”

“I’m done arguing with people because I don’t feel fine,” Kendall Jenner says in the clip. “I promise one day when I’m rushed to the hospital, then you guys are going to wake up.”

Harris, who does not treat Jenner, said risk factors for sleep paralysis include stress and not getting enough sleep. Jenner, who became a professional model when she was 14, has admitted to stress in the past.

“A lot of times in our country we’re very busy, we’re not making sleep a priority,” Harris said. “If you’re not getting good quality sleep or enough sleep you’re at a greater risk for having sleep paralysis.”

In addition to stress and lack of sleep, there are other factors that can cause sleep paralysis, medical experts say. The list includes alcohol use, certain medications, anxiety, sleep apnea and narcolepsy.

ABC News Chief Health and Medical Editor Dr. Richard Besser said there are things people can do to help reduce their chances of sleep paralysis.

Besser recommended dimming lights before going to sleep, turning off electronics one hour before going to bed and using tools on electronic devices that change screen colors from blue shades to orange shades.

“These are little things that you can do that may help you get a better night’s sleep,” Besser said today on “GMA.”

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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California Dad’s ‘Playborhood’ Lets Kids Run Free

ABC News(MENLO PARK, Calif.) — You’re dropping your kid off for a playdate and, suddenly, your parental radar starts pinging. You see 9-year-olds on skate ramps with no helmets, kids wrestling Hulk Hogan-style and more kids jumping off a 10-foot roof onto a netless trampoline.

If it looks unsafe to some parents, it’s just the opposite for Mike Lanza, a Silicon Valley-based father of three boys with his wife, Perla Ni. Lanza said this is the antidote to what he sees as the modern problems of childhood: too much screen time and overscheduled lives filled with extracurricular activities and organized sports.

Mike is the author of the book Playborhood and that’s the concept he designed for his Menlo Park, California home.

“We like to think of our yard and the streets around where we live as a ‘playborhood,'” he told me. “In order for kids to go outside and play on their own with each other, that opportunity has to be right outside their front door, or very close.”

His idea is that parents need to create a space where kids can play without many rules and feel empowered. You might call it radically unstructured play.

‘We Kind of Get to Do Whatever We Want’

Caleb Kennedy, a neighbor and friend of Mike’s middle son Nico, agrees.

“We kind of get to do whatever we want,” he said.

Mike has installed in his yard many of the things parents avoid, including a mini-skate park, trampoline, zip line and playhouse climbing structure that kids scale to jump from. Inside the playhouse, graffiti originally on white boards extends out onto every surface.

Mike, called the “anti-helicopter parent” in a New York Times profile, says he loves the ability for his kids and their friends to express themselves.

“Within about a half hour, every kid I have ever seen who has come here has gone wild and screams with joy and laughter and it’s just so wonderful for me to see,” he said. “I really think a lot of these kids have not had that experience for most of their lives, they haven’t had the sheer joy of reckless abandon, of wild play. We thrive on that, I thrive on that.”

Bess Kennedy, Caleb’s mom, brings him and her two daughters to the house regularly.

“I feel like there are so many other areas of their life that are so structured and this is a place they can come and play and have a great time,” she said, admitting she was scared when Caleb told her he went on the roof of the Lanzas’ two-story home.

“I definitely had some grappling with that but I just had to get over myself,” she said. “I don’t know if he goes on the roof as often but I know if he chooses to it’s going to be a safe way for him.”

Change in Parenting Culture

A neighbor who didn’t want to give her name told ABC News her kids are not allowed to play at the Lanzas.

But Mike might be on to something.

The kids play in the street, but cars slow down and the older kids yell at the younger kids to watch out. The kid who is sitting on a boy about to whack him with a plastic sword feints at the last minute, laughs and lets the smaller kid up.

The new kid to the group climbs up the play structure, but stops and says he doesn’t feel safe and then comes back down the way he came.

Tovah Klein, the author of How Toddlers Thrive, sees merit in this environment where kids take chances and have the opportunity to learn self-regulation.

“I think this idea of a ‘playborhood’ is, yes, extreme. But what he’s countering is children don’t get a lot of opportunity to try things for themselves to take risks, to take on challenges and to decide what they want to do,” she said.

That idea resonates after watching these kids play, mostly making good choices and policing themselves. It’s reminiscent of an older era of less parental intervention and more freedom.

Mike Lanza, a Stanford alumni, sees this as a change in parenting culture.

“When I was a kid, parents evaluated themselves partially on how independent their kids were, how self-reliant they were,” he said. “That is completely gone from the culture of parenthood these days.”

“I’m trying to make a whole human being here, not just a kid who knows how to do school work.”

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Sports Medicine Experts Bust Marathon Training Myths

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Tens of thousands of runners will line up in Staten Island to run the TCS New York City Marathon this Sunday. Preparing properly for a marathon can take weeks to months and require runs that span hours. But on race day, plenty of new or even experienced runners can get caught up in common preparation myths that have little science to back them up.

We talked to some sports medicine and marathon experts to find out which common running preparations are myths and which have scientific evidence to back them up.

MYTH: Carb Loading Is Absolutely Essential to Running Fast

Robert Truax, an osteopath and sports medicine specialist at the University Hospital Cleveland Medical Center, said experts now simply advise eating enough before a race. It’s not necessary to inhale a box of pasta to have a good long run.

“What matters is that you have the calories,” Truax said. “What you’re eating the night before and the diet you eat is critical if you’re trying to win the Olympics. But if you’re trying to complete the marathon … your training is the most important.”

MYTH: A Long Stretch Will Keep You Injury Free

Stretching may seem to be an essential part of any workout, but the experts say there’s not a lot of evidence that it keeps people injury free.

Dr. Dennis Cardone, chief of primary care sports medicine at the Department of Orthopedic Surgery at NYU Langone Medical Center, said studies have shown a good stretch doesn’t translate into a better or safe run.

“They should just do some type of warm-up,” Cardone said of marathon runners. “It’s not so much about the stretching.”

John Honerkamp, a coach for the New York Road Runners, said he’ll sometimes stretch to get the circulation going but warns that “if you go out on long [training runs] and don’t stretch, don’t do that that on race day.”

He also pointed out that the first mile of the race is the steepest, so runners can warm up the first few miles before switching to a faster pace.

“If you’re trying to run three or four hours … you don’t want to get your pace right away,” Honerkamp told ABC News.

MYTH: Eat a Bunch of Unfamiliar Sports Bars/Goo/Gummies During the Race

While experts advise having some kind of calorie replacement every hour during a long run, they advise against eating a bunch of unfamiliar food, including products like goo, gummies or bars designed to be eaten during the race.

It’s wise to go easy on sports “goo” designed to be easily eaten during long runs, Cardone said.

“The general recommendation is just one during the marathon. It’s big carbo-load and can affect your stomach,” Cardone said.

He also pointed out that the top rule for marathon runners is to avoid doing anything different on race day from how they train. This means avoiding any free sports treats from the marathon expo, unless they were already incorporated into your training.

MYTH: Drink at Every Water Station

While health experts used to think that runners should stay so hydrated that they never felt thirsty, that advice has changed, Cardone said. Instead, Cardone advises runners to wait until they feel thirsty before taking a drink.

“One of the biggest problems is hyponatremia … a decrease in sodium in body,” Cardone said.

Slower runners can end up drinking too much water, which can decrease the sodium concentration levels in the body — a potentially dangerous condition.

“We’ve gone full circle to ‘Don’t over hydrate.’ That’s more dangerous than being under-hydrated,” Cardone said.

MYTH: Compression Clothing Will Help You Run Faster

There is no item of clothing that is going to allow you to magically run faster, experts noted.

However, even though compression clothing cannot help runners finish the race faster, it may help with a post-run issue called “venous pooling,” where blood can pool in the legs, according to Cardone.

“They might get a little light headed and get swelling in their ankles,” due to the pooling, Cardone explained. “The compression clothing … can maybe help some of that pooling.”

This means runners might want to keep their compression socks on after the race rather than take them off as soon as they cross the finish line, he noted. Also if you haven’t been training in compression, race day is not the time to start, Cardone said.

TRUTH: Beer Can Help Relieve Aches and Pains

Here’s a fact that may make many people rejoice: beer (in moderation) can act as a muscle relaxer to help diminish the pain of a long run.

Marathoners often celebrated the end of the race with a cold pint, even if it’s still morning. This tradition can actually help runners recover from the race, Truax noted.

“Depending on what beer you’re getting, there’s a carbohydrate load, and the oldest muscle relaxer in the world … is alcohol,” Truax said.

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Woman Accused of Giving Children Heroin as ‘Feel-Good Medicine’

iStock/Thinkstock(TACOMA, Wash.) — A woman in Washington state is accused of giving her kids heroin as “feel-good medicine.”

Ashlee Hutt, the 24-year-old mother from Parkland, Washington, faces charges of criminal mistreatment and child assault after Child Protective Services allegedly found evidence a year ago that her three young children were being injected with heroin.

Hutt was arraigned in Pierce County Superior Court on Monday with bail set at $100,000 and her boyfriend, 25-year-old Mac McIver, was arraigned in September for the same charges.

Court documents said according to the News Tribune that a 6-year-old boy, a 4-year-old girl and a 2-year-old girl were removed by CPS from the mother’s home on Nov. 15, 2015 because of the presence of heroin, needles and rat droppings in the home.

CPS said the younger girl had heroin injection marks and bruising. In an interview with the son a month later, he said he was choked by McIver and injected with “feel-good medicine” that involved mixing a white powder with water and using a needle to inject it.

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Mom Pens Powerful Birth Story After She Says She Was Told to Terminate Pregnancy

Courtesy Nadine Shelley (SOUTH JORDAN, Utah) — A Utah mom who chose to fight for her baby’s life is gaining social media attention by sharing her inspiring story on Facebook.

Nadine Shelley, 24, of South Jordan, Utah, told ABC News Tuesday that she wrote the now-viral Facebook post titled “The Boy Who Lived” after she said doctors confirmed that her water had broken when she was just 22 weeks, 6 days pregnant. Doctors suspected Shelley was leaking fluid during her 17th week of pregnancy, but she was unable to notice it during that time, she said.

Dr. Matthew Wilson, Shelley’s OB/GYN of Granger Medical Clinic in West Valley City, told ABC News that although it’s rare for a woman’s water to break at 17 weeks, it could happen. When it does, the gradual leak could “easily go unnoticed” as there is much less amniotic fluid at 17 weeks, as opposed to a woman who’s water breaks at 39 weeks, he explained.

With a loss of amniotic fluid, Shelley’s baby was given a 15 percent chance to live and one doctor suggested she terminate the pregnancy, she said.

In order to spread hope to parents experiencing difficult times with their own children, Shelley wrote about her experience on Oct. 28.

“I felt inclined to share it,” Shelley said of the post. “I was so relieved at the great response I was getting because that was my motivation behind it.”

Shelley, a mom of two, said her second pregnancy took turn for the worse when her water broke at an early 17 weeks. It took five weeks for doctors to confirm that her water had, in fact, broken, she said.

“It was not good news for him at all,” Shelley said of her baby. “At 23 weeks, they told me I could do everything or nothing. So basically, abort or seek all treatment possible. We chose to do everything. We didn’t really feel like it was our decision to make. We felt that Brayden would make the decision if he was strong enough to make it.”

Shelley was admitted into the hospital at 22 weeks and six days. With her water broken, her child was not receiving the necessary amount of amniotic fluid, which aids in the development of muscles, limbs, lungs and the digestive system, according to the American Pregnancy Association.

“Each day, [the] stats got better but [they were] never great,” Shelley said. “We did have a great team that supported us, but we had one [doctor] that did not suggest moving forward [with the pregnancy].” That doctor told Shelley that her child could be born with mental and physical disabilities, she said.

On May 2, at 27 weeks pregnant, Shelley gave birth to a son, Brayden.

Brayden was born at 2 pounds, 12 ounces. He was intubated for over two weeks and spent 76 days in the NICU, Shelley said.

Shelley described the emotional time after Brayden’s birth in her Facebook post. The title of the story, “The Boy Who Lived,” was inspired by the fictional character Harry Potter, whose mother chose to die in order to save her son.

“Although I did not die for my son as Lily Potter did, I gave my life for him,” she wrote. “I gave up my everyday life (including raising our 2 year old daughter) and laid in a hospital bed for five weeks to give him the opportunity to live. And that gave him protection. The best possible protection, inside of me and receiving a mother’s love.

“I had to wait almost 2 weeks to hold my baby, my head rested on the outside of his incubator for hours upon hours. Days upon days. Many moms know how it feels to be discharged from the hospital without their baby, and it’s absolutely devastating. My car rides away from the hospital during Brayden’s 3 month NICU stay were some of the most dark and painful moments of my life.”

She continued: “Life is hard, and things won’t always go the way we want. But my message is, if I took those statistics at face value and chose to abort, I 100% would not have my Brayden to cuddle every night. But we chose to fight against all odds to give him a life. I would go through all that pain again to bring another life into this world.

“It is hard. But we are strong. And it is a fight worth fighting.”

Shelley credits the team of specialists who looked after Brayden during his stay in the NICU. Her “biggest cheerleader” was Dr. Wilson, she said.

“He is ecstatic for us and he really pushed for this,” Shelley said of her doctor. “He’s amazing and very personable and helped me see the hope in every step.”

Wilson is Shelley’s OB/GYN, but did not deliver her son Brayden. Since her pregnancy was high-risk, she required a higher level of care than Wilson could provide, he said.

“Nadine is a wonderful person, she’s a great patient [especially] when she was confronted with the challenges of this recent pregnancy,” Wilson said. “The most difficult part for the both of us was the unknown.

“I calmed her down and had a lot of long conversations with her to help her get all the information she could get. I applauded her for being very thoughtful and reasonable. She got a lot of opinions and in the end, we both agreed that wishing, waiting and holding out and hoping for a good outcome was the right plan to do. We were rewarded for her patience.”

Today, Brayden is 6 months old and has already defied so many odds, his mom said. While he’s still on oxygen, Shelley said he’s doing great and continuing to improve.

“He’s smiling and loving and he’s just adorable,” she said. “It’s just like my Facebook post said, if we chose to abort, then we would 100 percent not have him. If there was even a small percentage that we could have him, that was all the hope we needed. It was the most difficult thing, but also the most rewarding.”

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Health Officials Investigate Cluster of Unidentified Neurological Illness

Seattle Children’s Hospital(SEATTLE) — One child has died after reportedly developing mysterious neurological symptoms, according to the Washington State Health Department.

The child’s death was reported as officials from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as well as the state health department, continue to investigate a potential disease cluster first identified when eight children were hospitalized with neurological symptoms of unknown origin.

The children in Washington State were hospitalized at Seattle Children’s Hospital after developing symptoms including weakness or loss of movement in one or more of their limbs. Five of the children were released from the hospital, two remain hospitalized and one died after developing the symptoms, the Washington State Health Department said Monday. The family said the child died on Sunday.

Due to the nature of the symptoms authorities are investigating if they have identified a cluster of acute flaccid myelitis (AFM). The syndrome is a rare condition that affects the nervous system, specifically the spinal cord. It can occur to various causes including viral infections.

“CDC is examining the case reports to determine possible causes, risk factors, and commonalities of these cases. We understand parents may be concerned about AFM, a rare but serious condition that has been affecting primarily children,” a spokesman for the CDC said in a statement.

Experts at the CDC as well as the Washington State Health Department are still evaluating if these children’s symptoms point to AFM as an “exact cause” and other conditions are being investigated as well. Since AFM is often caused by a variety of viruses, officials are looking to see if any viral infections in the area may have led to the cluster.

Dr. William Schaffner, an infectious disease expert at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, said the goal will be to definitively diagnose the children with AFM then search for a potential cause.

“The first thing the investigators will do, they will look at clinical records to see if they fit the CDC definition of AFM,” Schaffner said. “They will simultaneously go to all of these patients and make sure that they have the best possible specimens to be sent to lab to establish viral diagnosis.”

If the child who died had signs of viral infection, it may help the CDC figure out if other children are at risk for developing AFM, Schaffner said.

“They will look to see if they find evidence of the virus in the nervous tissue,” Scahffner explained.

In 2014, dozens of children developed AFM around the time an outbreak of a respiratory virus called enterovirus D68 started to spread through the country. In general, certain enteroviruses, such as the polio virus, increase the risk that patients will develop AFM. However, after the 2014 enterovirus D68 outbreak, the CDC has not “consistently detected a pathogen” in the spinal fluid of infected patients that linked the virus to AFM cases.

The CDC was already investigating an increase of AFM cases in the U.S., with at least 50 cases reported by last August compared to 21 cases in all of 2015. In 2014, 120 cases of AFM were reported throughout the U.S. just between August and December. At the time, the CDC and other health agencies were investigating the enterovirus D68.

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Why This Mom Is Changing T-Shirts 26 Times While Running NYC Marathon

Genevieve Brown(NEW YORK) — For 26 inspiring reasons, one mom will wear 26 different T-shirts during next week’s TCS New York City Marathon.

Genevieve Brown, ABC News’ travel and lifestyle editor, is running the 26.2 miles on Nov. 6 — not only to raise money for Down syndrome research, but to honor 26 incredible people with Down syndrome by sporting their names during the race instead of her own.

“I think it’s significant because you train really hard, you work really hard to run a marathon and people with Down syndrome, they work very, very hard just to have the same things that everybody else has,” Brown said. “To me, having a child with Down syndrome is a lot like running a marathon. It’s mostly fun, it’s mostly beautiful, but there are some miles that are a struggle. You kind of push through them to get to the finish line, and the finish line is always that next goal.”

Brown is a mom to three children. Her middle son, Will, 3, has Down syndrome.

Will will be one of the 26 people whom Brown is running for during the marathon.

“Having Will opened up my eyes to a population of people I had no previous experience with,” Brown said. “I realized that people with Down syndrome are just like everyone else. They have the same feelings, the same capacity for love. They have a much higher emotional intelligence than the average person. Will works so hard for the same things that come easily to others.”

“I’m not trying to do anything except show the world that people with Down syndrome are just like them,” she added. “I’m not trying to change laws or do anything really spectacular. I just want people to see Will for Will — an adorable, clever, funny little boy who is loved tremendously.”

One year ago, Brown had the idea to raise money in honor of the LuMind Research Down Syndrome Foundation by dedicating each of the 26 New York City Marathon miles to 26 different people with Down syndrome.

LuMind is a nonprofit organization that funds research to support advances to improve memory, cognition and independence in individuals with Down syndrome.

For the fundraiser, Brown suggested a donation of $321. That $321 would represent the third extra copy of chromosome 21 that people with Down syndrome possess.

She brought the idea to LuMind and within three weeks, she raised more than $8,500 on their crowdfunding page in October, during Down syndrome Awareness Month.

The first 26 people to donate $321 or more received a mile to devote to a loved one with Down syndrome.

Brown will interchange five to six shirts at a time, peeling one off as each mile passes. Representatives from LuMind will be standing at various predetermined points of the race with T-shirts in-hand, so Brown can showcase the name that is printed on each of the 26 shirts.

A number of families will stand at their designated mile, cheering on as Brown runs by — including her own family at mile 18.

“These people, they’re just regular people,” Brown said. “You’ve got a little boy like Will, he’s the first person with Down syndrome to ever attend his preschool and there’s stories of everyone else in between. In addition to raising the money, which we did for LuMind, I want to honor these people for how hard they work every single day. Honestly, running a marathon is nothing compared to what they have to do to just have what everybody else has. And they do it, that’s the most amazing part.”

For the final .2 miles of the 26.2-mile race, Brown will wear the T-shirt with her son’s name to cross the finish line.

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Your Body: More Americans Engaging in Heavy Drinking

iStock/ThinkstockBy DR. JENNIFER ASHTON, ABC News Senior Medical Contributor

In the first three months of 2016, over 25 percent of U.S. adults said they’ve had at least one heavy drinking day in the past year.

Researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that the percentage of men who had at least one day of heavy drinking was about 32 percent. For women, this number was also up about 1 percent from the previous year. And for both sexes, the numbers were significantly higher than they were 10 years ago.

Though part of our social culture, alcohol is known to cause certain kinds of cancer, so moderation is critical. We also tend to eat more, make bad decisions or possibly seriously injure ourselves or someone else when drunk.

Plus, at the end of the day, no one feels good with a hangover.

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Women Remember Babies They’ve Lost in Powerful Photo Series

Junebug Photography(ATLANTA) — One Georgia photographer is helping six women tell their stories of love and loss in a new photo series called, “I am 1 in 4,” denoting the oft-repeated rate of women who suffer miscarriages or infant loss.

Professional photographer Nikita Razo said she released the photo series, in which women who have suffered a miscarriage or infant loss hold up a white balloon to signify the number of losses they’ve endured, in October as it’s Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month.

Razo, 29, said the photo series was “near and dear to my heart because I myself have suffered a miscarriage.”

The mother of two explained that she and her military husband lost their baby at 12 weeks; just days before they were going to reveal to their family and friends that they were expecting what would’ve have been their second child.

“It was just super exciting. We had been planning on going home for Thanksgiving to Illinois and because we weren’t going to be home for Christmas … we decided our gift to everyone was going to be announcing our pregnancy,” Razo said.

Razo said during a routine checkup in November 2015, her doctor, and later an ultrasound technician, couldn’t find her baby’s heartbeat.

“I waited an hour and a half in the waiting room, knowing that something was wrong for them to finally flag down a doctor, any doctor, to come and tell me that I had lost the baby,” she recalled.

It wasn’t until she was pregnant again August 2013 that she was comfortable sharing her story in church, she said.

“It took me almost a year to talk about it,” Razo recalled, adding that after sharing her story two women, whom she had been friends with, revealed that they had gone through the same thing.

“You shouldn’t feel ashamed to talk about it. And you shouldn’t feel that there’s something wrong with you or that you’re less of a woman … because you’re struggling with some kind of infertility,” Razo said. “It’s something that should be talked about openly.”

That’s why she photographed six women, helping them share their own stories.

To read each of their stories, click here.

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