Medicine Archives

Friday Link Wrap-up

Unrest in the Arab world. Autocrats killing their own people. Hezbollah working with Mexican drug cartels. And what’s the UN most concerned about? Israel. Right. Meryl Yourish has more.

Speaking of which, the Saudis tried to "stimulate" their economy in hopes of avoiding the same unrest plaguing other Arab nations. Doesn’t look like the citizens will be bought off that easily. (Pity that ours are so easily bought off.)

The inverted morals of the Left; killing babies is OK, but circumcising them once their born should be against the law. Even if you’re Jewish.

Worried about an oligarchy where the rich and powerful pay to have laws favorable to them? Then never mind the Koch brothers, it’s labor unions you should be worried about. (But the Left won’t worry about them, because they’re the right kind of money and power.)

The headline reads, "Gaza militants fire missile at Be’er Sheva for first time since Gaza war". Technically correct, but Qasams fall there virtually daily, but you wouldn’t know from our news media.

The Left is still pushing the meme that "right wing ‘hate’ groups" and their uncivil rhetoric caused the shooting of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords.

Civility Watch: The uncivil discourse has not been just in Wisconsin. Nazi imagery and racial slurs have been used in protests around the country, most recently in Massachusetts, Washington, DC, and Colorado. And while fully documented, none were mentioned by the media. Think it may have something to do with the fact that the protests were all for liberal causes?

In order to find that the ObamaCare individual mandate is constitutional, a judge had to somehow equate action with inaction. The result was never in doubt, it’s just how to get there that is the issue for these liberal judges.

CNN’s Candy Crowley put on her rose-tinted glassed once Obama was elected. I mean people were burning Bush in effigy for the previous 8 years, and now people love us. Donald Rumsfeld disagrees, and Lori Ziganto has evidence to the contrary.

It’s official: The State Department supports expelling Libya from the UN Human Right Council. Where in the world were these guys when Libya was put on the UNHRC? Back in May, we just called the HRC "flawed", which may be last year’s biggest understatement. In fact, it’s the whole UN that is flawed.

And finally, oh, that liberal media. A comparison of Tea Party protest coverage, and union protest coverage. Love that independent, unbiased media.

A Political Operation vs A News Organization

Opinion programs on a news network do not have to be held to the same even-handed standards that news journalists do.  They deal with opinion and don’t pretend to be unbiased or completely objective.

So it’s highly disingenuous for Rachel Maddow to accuse Fox News in general of being a political operation because of the publicity given to political candidates by its opinion shows, and at the same time doing the exact same thing, on her show and others at MSNBC.  She tries to assert that Fox is a "political operation" and that MSNBC is not, but, as this video shows, that claim doesn’t pass the smell test.

Maddow is lying to her viewers, boldly and unashamedly, on a subject that is the bedrock of a news channel’s credibility; the subject of bias.  Opinion shows are biased and she knows it, but she accuses "Fox News", the network, of being a branch of the GOP.

Glass house, meet stone.

Nuts in ignorance

“Anaphylaxis is an acute multi-system severe type I hypersensitivity reaction.” Such a reaction is brought on by the human body reacting to an allergen, or allergens, which it perceives as poisonous. Those persons, who happen to have a hypersensitivity towards certain allergens, such as peanuts, will experience an allergic reaction upon exposure to said allergens. The reaction, which runs in a cascade manner, has the potential to progress into anaphylactic shock, a condition where the body’s airways are swelled and constricted, and cardiac arrest occurs. In other words, if left immediately untreated, a person going into anaphylactic shock will most likely die.

Enter a post at both hellinahandbasket and Chicago Boyz in which James Rummel likens the banning of peanuts from commercial airline flights as one example of our leaning towards a nanny-state environment. From the Chicago Boyz post,

I’m voicing my bemusement over this situation because I just heard that there are tentative plans to have the US government ban all peanuts on commercial flights.

No more peanuts for you, you healthy bastard! Your inflight snack, which is nothing more than an ounce or two of roasted nuts, might cause the poor bastard sitting next to you to keel over from the odor!

My private charity for 18 years was a free self defense course for violent crime survivors, and I specialized in the elderly and disabled. I don’t think anyone can credibly claim that I am unsympathetic to the plight of those suffering from disabilities.

But banning peanuts because someone sitting somewhere on an entire airplane might be allergic? If there are people out there that are so hypersensitive to something so prevalent in our society, then they should be living inside of a bubble somewhere. If the problem is so deadly, their bodies so sensitive, then they could be passing someone in the street who ate a peanut butter sandwich and die in their tracks!

Now I read James on a pretty regular basis. He’s very level headed. While I can understand his frustration at the notion of losing access to airline peanuts, albeit for a few hours at a time for however many (or few) times he travels by air, I do take exception towards his attitude about those persons who do have a medically confirmed hypersensitivity towards peanuts (to be specific). His expecting someone so hypersensitive to live in a bubble is tantamount to expecting his disabled, elderly students, confined to wheelchairs / walkers, to stay in their homes and not bother the rest of us able-bodied persons to accommodate them as we get on with our daily business.

Yet, why the push for banning allergens, such as peanuts, from airline flights? In a word, time. As I mentioned earlier, the anaphylactic shock reaction is a cascade function, which is neither initiated or limited simply by the amount of allergen perceived. Therefore, reactions can occur with minute contact and reactions, once started, can progress into full anaphylactic shock. Once such a reaction occurs, treatment with epinephrine must be immediate. Those individuals who are diagnosed with hypersensitivity typically carry two doses of epinephrine with them at all times. However, while these injections provide immediate reversal of the allergic reaction, their effectiveness is limited in time (~30 minutes). Hence, it may be necessary to provide the individual with additional medical care.

This is why you see advocacy for limiting or banning allergens from airline flights and you don’t see advocacy for banning peanuts from, say, baseball games. I doubt that people, who are hypersensitive to peanuts, would choose to attend a major league baseball game, what with the bags of peanuts flying about. However, if they were to make the poor decision to attend such a game, and if they were to find themselves in anaphylactic shock, then a call to 911 would typically find paramedics at their side within minutes. The differences between the airline flight and the baseball game should be clear:  need vs. want, non-accessible vs. accessible medical facilities.

A commenter, emfdl, at hellinahandbasket, states,

Ban ‘em for all I care; I take my own peanut butter crackers with me when I fly. And I’m sorry, but if someone has that big a problem with an allergy, best they should stay in their air controlled bubble and let the rest of the world get on with life.

I don’t know who the person is, but if he truly believes that statement, then he’s an ignorant fool. And heaven help the likes of emfdl if they take that attitude while amongst me and my loved ones who suffer from allergic hypersensitivity.

Whenever I’ve heard of someone suffering a heart attack, while onboard an airline flight, it seems that the flight always diverts to the closest airport in order to provide that individual with the care they need. Rather than write-off individuals, with medically confirmed hypersensitivity, shouldn’t we extend them the same level of concern we do to other disabilities?

Also ref: The Peanut Allergy Answer Book

Is Margaret Chan the Next Michael Moore?

Moore made some money making the movie "Sicko", which extolled the virtues of the Cuban health care system, such as it is.  Margaret Chan might be trying to do the same for the North Korean one.

GENEVA (Reuters) – North Korea’s health system would be the envy of many developing countries because of the abundance of medical staff that it has available, the head of the World Health Organization said on Friday.

WHO Director-General Margaret Chan, speaking a day after returning from a 2-1/2 day visit to the reclusive country, said malnutrition was a problem in North Korea but she had not seen any obvious signs of it in the capital Pyongyang.

No, nothing to see here, as long as you look where we say you can, and only in the "obvious" places.  But it gets better.

North Korea — which does not allow its citizens to leave the country — has no shortage of doctors and nurses, in contrast to other developing countries where skilled healthcare workers often emigrate, she said.

This allows North Korea to provide comprehensive healthcare, with one "household doctor" looking after every 130 families, said the head of the United Nations health agency, praising North Korea’s immunization coverage and mother and child care.

"They have something which most other developing countries would envy," Chan told a news conference, noting that her visit was a rare sign of the communist state’s willingness to cooperate with outside agencies.

See?  All we really need to do is seal the borders, and we’d have the best healthcare in the world!  We could solve the illegal immigration and health care issues with one stone.  Then we’d be the envy of the developing world, and be complimented during the rare times we talked to anyone on the outside.  (Hey, that solves our "lost our standing in the world" problem, too!)

Chan spent most of her brief visit in Pyongyang, and she said that from what she had seen there most people had the same height and weight as Asians in other countries, while there were no signs of the obesity emerging in some parts of Asia.

But she said conditions could be different in the countryside.

News reports said earlier this year that North Koreans were starving to death and unrest was growing as last year’s currency revaluation caused prices to soar.

And that’s how you solve the obesity problem; centrally control the economy to invoke food shortages and starve your people!  It just seems so simple.  (And I gotta’ wonder if Jonathan Lynn, the Reuters news service writer, had a grin on his face as he deadpanned that last paragraph.)

Chan, who described her visit as "technical and professional" — in other words avoiding politics — said the North Korean government’s readiness to work with international agencies, such as the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, was encouraging.

The Global Fund requires countries it works with to provide sound data, account for resources contributed and allow access by officials, she noted.

"I can confirm that at least in the area of health the government is receptive to engagement with international partners," she said.

Which, when translated, means, "They’re ready for their bailout."

Kim Jong Il (who is a man) has eliminated obesity, stopped illegal immigration, is complimented by world organizations, and has held on to his country’s doctors.  Margaret, you need to emphasize this in your documentary.  I smell Oscar!

Some may argue that South Korea, the wealthier southern capitalist neighbor, is doing better economically, but you know something, Margaret; I bet they have fat kids there.

Spring Break Catch-up

I was on Spring Break vacation with the family last week, so other than my post-dated blog posts, I didn’t write much … well, anything.  But I did surf the web and kept track of some articles I wanted to highlight when I came back.  Here they are, in mostly chronological order of when I found them.

Amnesty International decided that jihad was not antithetical to human rights so long as it’s "defensive". 

The bump in polling numbers after passing health care "reform" was supposed to go to Democrats.  Instead, while it’s just a measure of emotion at this point in time, you’d think that all the promises of the bill would give Democrats a few higher point.  Instead, they’re at an 18-year low.  It’s quite possible that people are only now understanding what they supported all along, because the "free" stuff isn’t materializing right now.

What was the point of the resurrection on Easter?  Don Sensing has (had) some thoughts.

The Tea Party’s ideas are much more mainstream than the MSM would like you to believe.  And Tea Partiers are much more diverse that the MSM realized.  Turns out, they did some actual journalism and found out the real story.  Imagine that.  Has the liberal slant of the press become a problem of corruption, especially with, first, the willful ignoring of the Tea Party story, and second, the willful misreporting of it?

Toyota cars have killed 52 people, and got a recall for it.  Gardasil, a cervical cancer vaccine, has had 49 "unexplained deaths" reported by the CDC and it’s still required in some states.

Changing the names to protect the guilty, the words "Islam" and "jihad" are now banned from the national security strategy document.  When the next terror attack Islamic jihadists happens, it’ll be interesting to find out how they describe it.

Cows have been exonerated of helping to cause global warming.  No, really.

Rep. Bart Stupak’s reversal of his principles is having the proper effect; he’s decided not to seek re-election.  Likely, he couldn’t get re-elected anyway, after betraying his constituents, but let this be a lesson about trusting "conservative" Democrats too much.

And finally, media scrutiny of church vs. state (click for a larger picture):

Media scrutiny

Oh, that liberal media.

Abortion Tradeoffs

Hey, what’s a few more cases of breast cancer when something so important as the "right" to an abortion is on the line?  For some, that’s just a necessary tradeoff.

A women’s group is asking Congress and the Obama administration to investigate the expose’ showing how a top National Cancer Institute researcher recently admitted that abortion causes a 40% breast cancer increase risk but organizing a meeting to get the NCI to deny it.

As reported earlier this month [January], the main NCI activist who got the agency to deny the abortion-breast cancer link has co-authored a study admitting the abortion-breast cancer link is true, calling it a "known risk factor."

The study, conducted by Jessica Dolle and NCI official Louise Brinton, appears in the April 2009 issue of the prestigious cancer epidemiology journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Prevention.

The Dolle study, conducted with Janet Daling of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, cited as accurate Daling’s studies from 1994 and 1996 that showed between a 20 and 50 percent increased breast cancer risk for women having abortions compare to those who carried their pregnancies to term.

Now, the Coalition on Abortion/Breast Cancer informed today it is sending a letter, signed by doctors and pro-life organizations to President Obama and the leaders of Congress calling for an investigation of the U.S. National Cancer Institute.

Karen Malec, the head of the group, told the letter "puts political leaders on notice of a discrepancy between what the National Cancer Institute says about the breast cancer risks of abortion … and what Louise Brinton, the NCI’s Chief of the Hormonal and Reproductive Epidemiology Branch, has reported in her research."

"The letter asks Congress to investigate the NCI’s failure to issue timely warnings about breast cancer risks and asks political leaders to remove public funding for abortion from all legislation being considered by this Congress," she said.

The truth doesn’t matter to these people.  What’s more important is the freedom to kill their inconvenient children.  Are those the kind of politics your vote supports?

CDC Says Sex Ed Better Than Abstinence Ed, But…

they won’t release the data from which they drew that conclusion, nor the analysis showing how they got there.  They say they have their reasons…

A spokeswoman from the CDC told that it is standard procedure for the agency not to release the complete data used by the task force to make recommendations on a range of issues, including adolescence health.

“Before CDC releases information to the public, it must go through the CDC’s scientific clearance process to ensure not only that the underlying data are accurate, but also that 1) it is presented in a manner that is clear and not prone to misinterpretation, and 2) any inferences drawn from the data are defensible,” spokeswoman Karen Hunter said.

She also said that all of the data will eventually be released when it is published in a “peer-reviewed journal,” which can take as long as one year.

Which begs the question, helpfully asked by CNS News:

When asked by how recommendations can be made before the data are proved to be “accurate” and “defensible,” Dr. Jonathan E. Fielding, chairman of the task force and county director of Public Health, and health officer for the county of Los Angeles Department of Health Services, said he is “very comfortable” with the recommendations.

Well that make me feel better, or comfortable, eh?

There are a couple of folks on this 15-member task force, however that don’t support the findings.  They’ve come out against the non-release of the data and the methodology.

“We are concerned that the study averaged together the results of [Comprehensive Sex Education] programs that were very different from each other, such as programs in STD
clinics and programs in school classrooms, without identifying which kind of programs were effective,” [Irene] Ericksen told

“Doing this had the effect of glossing over the lack of results for the CSE programs in the schools, which is the setting where most teens receive sex ed,” Ericksen added.

“These programs did not significantly increase condom use, or reduce teen pregnancy or STDs,” Ericksen said. “To avoid comparing apples and oranges, a more meaningful study would have been a meta-analysis of school-based programs.”

This is almost like ClimateGate with doctors instead of climate scientists.  No transparency, just findings. 

H1N1: crying wolf inside the pigpen

From CNN, Obama declares H1N1 emergency.

President Obama has declared a national emergency to deal with the “rapid increase in illness” from the H1N1 influenza virus.

“The 2009 H1N1 pandemic continues to evolve. The rates of illness continue to rise rapidly within many communities across the nation, and the potential exists for the pandemic to overburden health care resources in some localities,” Obama said in a statement.

Later, the article states,

Since the H1N1 flu pandemic began in April, millions of people in the United States have been infected, at least 20,000 have been hospitalized and more than 1,000 have died, said Dr. Thomas Frieden, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Yet, Michael Fumento writes, in Swine Flu Piglet ‘Pandemic’,

…total deaths since Aug. 30 from “Influenza and Pneumonia-Associated” illness are 2,029 reports the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Web site FluView. But only 292 of those have been laboratory-confirmed as flu of any type. (And yes, people die of pneumonia from many causes other than flu.) By comparison, the CDC estimates about 260 Americans die each day from “regular” flu during each season.

While our first inclination might be to ask, “What’s going on here?”, perhaps we should, instead, be concerned with what might happen in the future if we come face to face with a genuine wolf.

"CNN Money" Lists 5 Freedoms You’ll Lose Under "ObamaCare"

No, you read that right.  It’s not Fox News reporting this; it’s CNN.  Even if you believe Fox News Channel is the broadcast arm of the Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy, you don’t have that excuse to hand-wave this away.

The article is here, but here’s just the main list of items:

  1. Freedom to choose what’s in your plan
  2. Freedom to be rewarded for healthy living, or pay your real costs
  3. Freedom to choose high-deductible coverage
  4. Freedom to keep your existing plan
  5. Freedom to choose your doctors

CNN details how these freedoms will be lost, in spite of protestations from Obama and his backers.  These freedoms would be lost in either of the two main bills; one in the House and one in the Senate. 

This is not just about covering folks who don’t have insurance, and millions of whom indeed don’t want insurance.  It’s about government control of the industry.

(There’s a word for that.  Can’t recall it just now.)

The Canadian Health Care Plan: Looking More Like the American One

Y’know, maybe that whole profit motive thing and competition wasn’t so bad after all.

SASKATOON — The incoming president of the Canadian Medical Association says this country’s health-care system is sick and doctors need to develop a plan to cure it.

Dr. Anne Doig says patients are getting less than optimal care and she adds that physicians from across the country – who will gather in Saskatoon on Sunday for their annual meeting – recognize that changes must be made.

"We all agree that the system is imploding, we all agree that things are more precarious than perhaps Canadians realize," Doing said in an interview with The Canadian Press.

"We know that there must be change," she said. "We’re all running flat out, we’re all just trying to stay ahead of the immediate day-to-day demands."

The pitch for change at the conference is to start with a presentation from Dr. Robert Ouellet, the current president of the CMA, who has said there’s a critical need to make Canada’s health-care system patient-centred. He will present details from his fact-finding trip to Europe in January, where he met with health groups in England, Denmark, Belgium, Netherlands and France.

His thoughts on the issue are already clear. Ouellet has been saying since his return that "a health-care revolution has passed us by," that it’s possible to make wait lists disappear while maintaining universal coverage and "that competition should be welcomed, not feared."

In other words, Ouellet believes there could be a role for private health-care delivery within the public system.

We already know that American private health-care delivery already has a role. 

And this is hilarious.

He has also said the Canadian system could be restructured to focus on patients if hospitals and other health-care institutions received funding based on the patients they treat, instead of an annual, lump-sum budget. This "activity-based funding" would be an incentive to provide more efficient care, he has said.

Heh.  That "activity-based funding" is something like what we capitalists call "pricing".  We’ve found out that it’s a more efficient way to deal with supply and demand than government dictate. 

Democrats Say "Uncle" to Sarah Palin

Over at "Stop the ACLU", a bullet list of times that Sarah Palin won the debate on the end-of-life care issue she brought up.  Biggest win; the provision was removed from a Senate bill.  (A provision that her critics insisted was pure fantasy.)

Y’all just go on underestimating her.

"Venting Your Spleen" Not Such a Bad Thing

Just when you think medical science has our bodies pretty much figured out, they get another glimpse at God’s design.

Scientists have discovered that the spleen, long consigned to the B-list of abdominal organs and known as much for its metaphoric as its physiological value, plays a more important role in the body’s defense system than anyone suspected.

Reporting in the current issue of the journal Science, researchers from Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School describe studies showing that the spleen is a reservoir for huge numbers of immune cells called monocytes, and that in the event of a serious trauma to the body like a heart attack, gashing wound or microbial invasion, the spleen will disgorge those monocyte multitudes into the bloodstream to tackle the crisis.

“The parallel in military terms is a standing army,” said Matthias Nahrendorf, an author of the report. “You don’t want to have to recruit an entire fighting force from the ground up every time you need it.”

That researchers are only now discovering a major feature of a rather large organ they have been studying for at least 2,000 years demonstrates yet again that there is nothing so foreign as the place we call home.

It’s not like the ol’ spleen has been hiding away somewhere.  We’ve been keeping an eye on it for quite some time.

That researchers are only now discovering a major feature of a rather large organ they have been studying for at least 2,000 years demonstrates yet again that there is nothing so foreign as the place we call home.

“Often, if you come across something in the body that seems like a big deal, you think, ‘Why didn’t anybody check this before?’ ” Dr. Nahrendorf said. “But the more you learn, the more you realize that we’re just scratching on the surface of life. We don’t know the whole story about anything.”

Indeed we don’t.

Top 9 "Benefits" of ObamaCare(tm)

I don’t normally post about it here, but I contribute to the Shire Network News podcast, and wanted to post the text of my segment this week.  SNN is a satirical look at the news, but a fierce defender of Western civilization, culture and religion.  I’m what you might call the "token" Christian on the team.  The rest of the regulars are Jews, most of whom started their adult life as liberals.  Then came reality.  We all get along extremely well, even when we disagree.

SNN (virtually) always has a feature interview.  This episode’s is with Charles Winecoff, a contributor to the Big Hollywood blog for conservatives working in the creative arts. Click here for the show notes, links, and ways to listen to the show; directly from the web site, by downloading the mp3 file, or by subscribing with your podcatcher of choice.

Below is the text of my commentary.

Hi, this is Doug Payton for Shire Network News asking you to "Consider This!".

Candidate Barack Obama said that we needed health care reform in the US, but blasted fellow Democrat Hillary Clinton for proposing a mandatory insurance requirement.  President Obama now thinks this is a feature, not a bug; a benefit that we just need to get on board with.  But there’s more, much more!  If you act now…  (Oh, sorry, I was channeling Billy Mays for a second there.) 

Anyway, while there are many positives to the proposal, here are the Top 9 Benefits of ObamaCare(tm):

9 – No more pesky Canadians crossing the border to avoid their long waiting lines.  Ours will be just as long.

8 – We’ll be the envy of the third world.

7 – Health insurance will be just like car insurance; you have to have it, it’ll cover less as you get older, and your children can trade you in during our Cash for Clunkers program.

6 – Getting rid of of Grandma & Grandpa sooner means cost savings to you, not including the Christmas & birthday presents you don’t have to buy anymore.

5 – Electronic records means that your medical history will soon have its own Facebook page.

4- Medicine will no longer be prescribed subject to, as Scott Ott has called it, "diagnosis discrimination"; simply based on a doctor’s opinion.  Government bureaucrats will now be on a level playing field.

3 – It’ll make David Letterman forget all about Sarah Palin.

2 – Cost-cutting measure: close rural hospitals.  It’s OK that farmers will be travelling farther for health care, because we’ll mandate they buy an electric car.

And the #1 benefit of ObamaCare(tm):

If we had already had it, Michael Jackson would still be alive.

Yes, and Christopher Reeve, too, I imagine.  Consider this.

Political Chuckle of the Week

The old phrase goes, "What if they gave a war and nobody came?"  Well, here’s another:  What if they gave a universal health care support rally

Local members had penciled in on today’s schedule a protest in front of Senator John Cornyn’s Spring Valley Road office, during which they had hoped to pressure the senator to support President Barack Obama’s public health care legislation.

…and a tax protest broke out?  (I know, not as catchy.)

But when Paula Anderson, a member and spokeswoman, showed up at 11:30 a.m., she found another contingent had beat her to the proverbial punch: A large number of Dallas Tea Party members were already set up, voicing their opposition to the proposal.

Anderson was stunned: "We really did not expect them to show up." She estimated the crowd at about 130. "From our perspective we took names of everyone there, and we had about 30 people," she told Unfair Park. "And I would assume they maybe had 100."

The Tea Party movement ain’t going away so easily.

It’s Been Tried. It Failed.

If good intentions were dollars, TennCare would be turning a profit instead of failing in its financial and moral responsibilities to the people of Tennessee.

And so begins an article dealing with the financial problems of a universal health care insurance program that has failed, and of a government that hid the fact that it was failing.

Now I’m sure that there are plenty of folks who would come forth and say that this time, with ObamaCare, it would be done right. 

The article lists a number of people and groups to blame for the failure, but I find this to be the foundation of it all, and why a little government intervention inevitably leads to a lot.

Then blame the entitlement industry that has grown up around TennCare like weeds choking a garden. These strident advocates believe they have the right to reach into our pockets and take as much money as they need to turn TennCare into what they want it to be — universal insurance — instead of what it is supposed to be — a safety net.

That is precisely what happens when a new entitlement comes into play, and why Ronald Reagan said that the closest thing to eternal life this side of heaven was a government program.  Promoting this entitlement to the federal government will, make no mistake about it, get larger than even its proponents dare to believe.  And ultimately it won’t be as good as what we have now.

Just ask all the Canadians that come over the border.

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