Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

February 19, 2013
Degenerative cervical spine disease may not progress over time
Follow-up data on patients with degenerative disease of the upper (cervical) spinal vertebrae show little or no evidence of worsening degeneration over time, according to a study in the Feb.

Could an old antidepressant treat sickle cell disease?
An antidepressant drug used since the 1960s may also hold promise for treating sickle cell disease, according to a surprising new finding made in mice and human red blood cells.

Briefing: 'New Report -- US Budget Cuts Jeopardize Recent Scientific Gains in Global Health'
A new report warns that potential cuts to US global health and research programs that battle diseases like AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria could threaten countless lives and put at risk the ripening fruits of past investments in innovations crucial to fighting these diseases.

UCLA study suggests link between untreated depression, response to shingles vaccine
More evidence for the mind-body connection -- a new UCLA study suggests a link between untreated depression and response to the shingles vaccine.

Horses don't have stage fright -- but their riders do
Most of us are familiar with stage fright -- with all its nasty manifestations such as rapid pulse, dry mouth, shaky voice, blushing and sweaty palms -- but is the condition restricted to humans?

Insects scientists and children meeting in Las Cruces, New Mexico
1,200 elementary school students are expected to attend an INSECT EXPO during the 2013 Annual Meeting of the Southwestern Branch of the Entomological Society of America, which will be held Feb.

Engineering control theory helps create dynamic brain models
Models of the human brain, patterned on engineering control theory, may some day help researchers control such neurological diseases as epilepsy, Parkinson's and migraines, according to a Penn State researcher who is using mathematical models of neuron networks from which more complex brain models emerge.

Study shows reduced risk of preterm birth for pregnant women vaccinated during pandemic flu
Pregnant women who received the H1N1 influenza vaccine during the 2009 pandemic were less likely to have premature babies, and their babies weighed more on average.

New study shows how seals sleep with only half their brain at a time
A new study led by an international team of biologists has identified some of the brain chemicals that allow seals to sleep with half of their brain at a time.

Novel trading system could help fund global health
A novel global trading system based on the cost effectiveness of health interventions, similar to the market on carbon permits to help control climate change, could provide the extra funding needed to reach the health targets in the Millennium Development Goals, argue experts writing in this week's PLOS Medicine.

Intravenous fluid used for critically ill patients linked with adverse outcomes
In an analysis of studies that examined critically ill patients requiring an increase in blood fluid volume, intravenous use of the fluid hydroxyethyl starch was not associated with decreased mortality, according to an article appearing in the Feb.

Theory of crystal formation complete again
Exactly how a crystal forms from solution is a problem that has occupied scientists for decades.

Don't trust liposomes in your beauty products
New research shows that liposomes in cremes are not capable of transporting active ingredients into the skin.

Could a computer on the police beat prevent violence?
As cities across America work to reduce violence in tight budget times, new research shows how they might be able to target their efforts and police attention -- with the help of high-powered computers and loads of data.

Males' superior spatial ability likely is not an evolutionary adaptation
Males and females differ in a lot of traits (besides the obvious ones) and some evolutionary psychologists have proposed hypotheses to explain why.

International space station plays host to innovative infectious disease research
Cheryl Nickerson, a microbiologist at Arizona State University's Biodesign Institute, is using the ISS platform to pursue new research into the effects of microgravity on disease-causing organisms.

Increase seen in use of robotically-assisted hysterectomy for benign gynecologic disorders
Between 2007 and 2010, the use of robotically-assisted hysterectomy for benign gynecologic disorders increased substantially, although, when compared with laparoscopic hysterectomy, the robotic procedure appears to offer little short-term benefit and is accompanied by significantly greater costs, according to a study appearing in the Feb.

More than 850 abstracts received, record attendance expected at major bone congress
IOF and ESCEO have announced that a record number of abstracts (850+) have been submitted to the European Congress on Osteoporosis & Osteoarthritis (ESCEO13-IOF) and the 3rd IOF-ESCEO Pre-Clinical Symposium.

Nature's phenomena might teach Virginia Tech engineers new tricks
The National Science Foundation has a Physics of Living program that funds research projects at the interface of biology, mathematical modeling, physics, and engineering.

Multiple Elsevier nursing titles honored by the American Journal of Nursing
Elsevier, a world-leading provider of scientific, technical and medical information products and services, was recognized with three American Journal of Nursing 2012 Book of the Year awards, including two for first place.

Thigh fat may be to blame for older adults who slow down
A new study from Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center shows that an increase in fat throughout the thigh is predictive of mobility loss in otherwise healthy older adults.

Rewriting a receptor's role
In a pair of new papers, researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine and the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences upend a long-held view about the basic functioning of a key receptor molecule involved in signaling between neurons, and describe how a compound linked to Alzheimer's disease impacts that receptor and weakens synaptic connections between brain cells.

Organic rice research moves to front burner in Texas
Organic rice studies have moved to the front burner with almost $1 million in federal grants to Texas A&M AgriLife Research scientists.

Pioneer in neural development honored with the Mortimer D. Sackler, M.D. Prize
Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons and Weill Cornell Medical College have announced that the Mortimer D.

There's room for improvement in women's heart disease awareness
Women's awareness of heart disease as the leading cause of death has nearly doubled in 15 years.

New approach alters malaria maps
Identifying areas of malarial infection risk depends more on daily temperature variation than on the average monthly temperatures, according to a team of researchers, who believe that their results may also apply to environmentally temperature-dependent organisms other than the malaria parasite.

Genetic signs of alcoholism in women studied for the first time
Research done at the UPV/EHU-University of the Basque Country has determined the frequency of genetic variants linked to alcoholism for the Spanish population, and its incidence not only in individuals with a high level of alcohol intake, but also in individuals with alcohol dependence.

Medicines quality workshop to address standards for microbiological contamination, bioburden control
On March 18-19, 2013, in Rockville, Md., the United States Pharmacopeial Convention will host a workshop,

Exposure to air pollution is associated with increased deaths after heart attacks
Air pollution contributes to an increased number of deaths among patients who have been admitted to hospital with heart attacks, according to a study published online in the European Heart Journal.

Navy develops power engineering curriculum with universities across US
An Office of Naval Research-supported enterprise is bringing sweeping changes to electric power and energy education at universities throughout the country, establishing first-time programs at some schools and bringing new courses and labs to others.

Stillbirth in Inuit and First Nations women higher than for non-Aboriginal residents
Stillbirth rates in First Nations and Inuit populations in Quebec are higher than in the general population, especially in late gestation and at term, found a new study in CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal).

Baylor University and Tufts University to examine effect of innovative Boy Scout program
A study to examine whether and how Boy Scout programs affect the character, health and academic achievement of youths -- as well as their contribution to community and democracy -- will be launched in September by Baylor University's Institute for Studies of Religion and Tufts University's Institute for Applied Research in Youth Development.

Coming to a smartphone near you: Personalized experiences
Online and mobile technologies are delivering increasingly personalized services to their users.

Common IV fluid associated with reduced likelihood of full recovery in patients with cardiac arrest
Although an intravenous fluid that paramedics in Japan often give to patients in cardiac arrest before they reach hospital may help restore circulation, it may also be linked to reduced survival with minimal neurological or physical damage one month later, according to a study from Japan published in this week's PLOS Medicine.

NREL and partners demonstrate quantum dots that assemble themselves
Scientists from the U.S. Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory and other labs have demonstrated a process whereby quantum dots can self-assemble at optimal locations in nanowires, a breakthrough that could improve solar cells, quantum computing, and lighting devices.

Radio telescope, GPS use ionosphere to detect nuclear tests
Analyzing radio telescope interferometry and GPS data recorded of the ionosphere, scientists are able to detect acoustic-gravity waves from surface and underground nuclear explosions.

How the whale got its teeth
Whales are mammals, but they don't look like the mammals living around us, as they have a triangular fluke for tail, no hind legs and no body hair.

Buying ad time just got easier
Michigan State University scholar Chen Lin has developed the most accurate model yet for predicting when consumers are using media such as TV, computers and smart phones.

New drug combination could prevent head and neck cancer in high-risk patients
Preclinical combination of an EGFR inhibitor and a COX-2 inhibitor was effective.

Steroid injection may lead to worse outcomes in patients with spinal stenosis
For patients with spinal stenosis, epidural steroid injections (ESI) may actually lead to worse outcomes -- whether or not the patient later undergoes surgery, according to a study in the Feb.

AGI releases 'Faces of Earth' series in HD on YouTube
The American Geosciences Institute is pleased to announce that it has released its award-winning

University of Arizona Engineering College pursues water technology innovation cluster
A growing number of cities are planning their futures around water-based economies by forming water technology innovation clusters.

We know when we're being lazy thinkers
Are we intellectually lazy? Yes we are, but we do know when we take the easy way out, according to a new study in Springer's journal Psychonomic Bulletin & Review.

Adding movement to 'dry run' mental imagery enhances performance
Adding movement to mental rehearsal can improve performance finds a study in BioMed Central's open access journal Behavioral and Brain Functions.

Researchers create semiconductor 'nano-shish-kebabs' with potential for 3-D technologies
Researchers at North Carolina State University have developed a new type of nanoscale structure that resembles a

Powerful people are looking out for their future selves
Would you prefer $120 today or $154 in one year?

'Growing' medicines in plants requires new regulations
Scientists say amending an EU directive on GMOs could help stimulate innovation in making vaccines, cheaper pharmaceuticals and organic plastics using plants.

IU receives patent for informatics professor's work predicting economic activity through Twitter
The media called it

Mutant champions save imperiled species from almost-certain extinction
Species facing widespread and rapid environmental changes can sometimes evolve quickly enough to dodge the extinction bullet.

Fibromyalgia prevalence at 2.1 percent of general German population
Researchers have determined that fibromyalgia prevalence is 2.1 percent of the general population in Germany.

Data paper describes Antarctic biodiversity data gathered by 90 expeditions since 1956
A newly published data paper

Sports, shared activities are 'game changers' for dad/daughter relationships, Baylor study finds
The most frequent turning point in father-daughter relationships is shared activity -- especially sports -- ahead of such pivotal events as when a daughter marries or leaves home, according to a study by Baylor University researchers.

CT angiography helps predict heart attack risk
Coronary computed tomography angiography is an effective tool for determining the risk of heart attacks and other adverse cardiac events in patients with suspected coronary artery disease but no treatable risk factors, such as high cholesterol or high blood pressure, according to a new study.

CMU researchers identify biological marker that predicts susceptibility to the common cold
Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University have identified a biological marker in the immune system that -- beginning at about age 22 -- predicts our ability to fight off the common cold.

Evolution of diversity surprisingly predictable
Similar -- or even identical -- mutations can occur during diversification in completely separate populations of E. coli evolving over more than 1,000 generations, according to researchers at the University of British Columbia and the University of Montana.

Age-related macular degeneration common cause of vision impairment in Kenya
Despite current beliefs, the degenerative eye condition age-related macular degeneration is a common cause of vision impairment and blindness in sub-Saharan Africa, requiring an urgent review of vision services, according to a study by international researchers published in this week's PLOS Medicine.

UC Davis hosts the second Climate-Smart Agriculture Global Science Conference
The University of California, Davis, will host the second Climate-Smart Agriculture Global Science Conference on March 20-22, 2013.

NREL helps communities assess their readiness for electric vehicles
The U.S. Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory has launched a new tool to help local and regional leaders assess the readiness of their communities for the arrival of plug-in electric vehicles.

Language protein differs in males, females
Male rat pups have more of a specific brain protein associated with language development than females, according to a study published Feb.

Climate change effect on plant communities is buffered by large herbivores, new research suggests
Can existing ecological communities persist intact as temperatures rise? A news study suggests that the answer to this question may have as much to do with the biological interactions that shape communities as with the effects of climate change itself.

Private Security Industry must be made transparent and accountable, study concludes
Private Security Industry that asks the true human and financial costs of war must be made transparent and accountable, study concludes.

And the Oscar (and thanks) goes to...
Georgia Tech student Rebecca Rolfe analyzed 60 years of Academy Awards acceptance speeches as part of a research project that focused on gratitude.

Study shows that diet of resistant starch helps the body resist colorectal cancer
A University of Colorado Cancer Center review published in this month's issue of the journal Current Opinion in Gastroenterology shows that resistant starch helps the body resist colorectal cancer through mechanisms including killing pre-cancerous cells and reducing inflammation that can otherwise promote cancer.

Phosphorus starvation linked to symptoms of citrus disease Huanglongbing in new study
The citrus disease Huanglongbing is the most destructive disease threatening the citrus industry worldwide.

Childhood cancer in developing countries -- a growing health threat that could be easily managed
Across the developing world, childhood cancer is on the rise, and mortality is high.

Diagnosis and treatment now possible for osteoarthritic cats
Scientists at the University of Montreal's Quebec Research Group in Animal Pharmacology have found a way to recognize and treat osteoarthritis in cats -- a condition that the owner might not notice and that can make even petting painful.

Established journals to publish under open access model
John Wiley & Sons, Inc., announced today that Journal of Cellular and Molecular Medicine and Microbial Biotechnology have joined the Wiley Open Access publishing program.

Sloan Foundation announces 2013 Sloan Research Fellows
The Alfred P. Sloan Foundation is pleased to announce the selection of 126 outstanding US and Canadian researchers as recipients of Sloan Research Fellowships for 2013.

Tufts civil engineer wins national award for research on monitoring public structures
Promising research into monitoring structural soundness of buildings and bridges has earned Babak Moaveni, an assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering in the Tufts School of Engineering, an early career award from the National Science Foundation.

Engineering cells for more efficient biofuel production
Yeast research takes a step toward production of alternatives to gasoline.

SMU conference aims to spur development of geothermal production in oil and gas fields
SMU's renowned Geothermal Lab will host its sixth Geothermal Energy Utilization Conference March 12-14 on the SMU campus in Dallas.

Fungi offers new clues in asthma fight, say Cardiff scientists
Hundreds of tiny fungal particles found in the lungs of asthma sufferers could offer new clues in the development of new treatments, according to a team of Cardiff University scientists.

UCLA scientists develop new therapeutics that could accelerate wound healing
Heather Maynard, UCLA professor of chemistry and biochemistry, and colleagues report a discovery to exploit our body's ability to heal itself, that could lead to new bio-mimicking therapeutics to treat skin wounds.

Lockheed Martin and Nanyang Technological University to collaborate on nanotechnology
Lockheed Martin and Singapore's Nanyang Technological University today announced a memorandum of understanding to explore the science of nanotechnology, with special focus on nanocopper and related technologies for the commercial market.

How predictable is evolution?
Understanding how and why diversification occurs is important for understanding why there are so many species on Earth.

Association found between length of biological marker and development of respiratory infection
Among healthy adults who were administered a cold virus, those with shorter telomere length (a structure at the end of a chromosome) in certain cells were more likely to develop experimentally-induced upper respiratory infection than participants with longer telomeres, according to results of preliminary research published in the Feb.

Fresh faces abundant at Colorado Science Bowl
It was a nail-biter of a finish at the 2013 Colorado High School Regional Science Bowl, hosted by the US Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory, as a record 42 teams -- including 10 schools participating for the first time -- competed for a chance to challenge for the national title.

Nicotine lozenges, tobacco-free snuff help smokeless tobacco users quit, Mayo Clinic finds
Smokeless tobacco users who said they didn't want to quit changed their minds or significantly cut back when given nicotine lozenges or tobacco-free snuff in a Mayo Clinic study.

Russian fireball largest ever detected by CTBTO's infrasound sensors
Infrasonic waves from the meteor that broke up over Russia's Ural mountains last week were the largest ever recorded by the CTBTO's International Monitoring System.

Using mouthrinse reduces plaque and gingivitis more than toothbrushing alone
New research published in the Jan./Feb. 2013 issue of General Dentistry, the peer-reviewed clinical journal of the Academy of General Dentistry, indicates that the use of a germ-killing mouthrinse in addition to regular toothbrushing can significantly reduce plaque and gingivitis, more so than brushing alone.

New compound holds high promise in battling kidney cancer
Chemists at the University of California, Riverside, have developed a compound that holds much promise in the laboratory in fighting renal (kidney) cancer.

Abnormal growth regulation may occur in children with heart defects
The poor growth seen in children born with complex heart defects may result from factors beyond deficient nutrition.

Infants in poverty show different physiological vulnerabilities to the care-giving environment
Some infants raised in poverty exhibit physical traits that make them more vulnerable to poor care-giving, according to new research published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science.

UC research examines interventions in treating African-Americans with substance abuse
New research out of the University of Cincinnati reveals a relatively rare look into the success of substance abuse treatment programs for African-Americans.

NASA satellite sees Tropical Depression 02W soak the Philippines
The second tropical depression of the northwestern Pacific Ocean season formed on Feb.

Towards a new moth perfume
A single mutation in a moth gene has been shown to be able to produce an entirely new scent.

Momentum builds in quest to find cure for childhood brain disease
The Rasmussen Encephalitis Children's Project has provided a grant to researchers at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA to accelerate research into a devastating neurological disease called Rasmussen Encephalitis.

NYU's Shedlin publishes study on the health of Colombian refugees in Ecuador
Shedlin's research addresses the need to reach a more complete understanding of the migration process and vulnerabilities experienced by refugees as they cross international borders, particularly in South America.

Researchers discover a biological marker of dyslexia
Northwestern University researchers believe they have discovered a biological marker of dyslexia, a disorder affecting up to one out of 10 children that makes learning to read difficult.

New study to predict future shape of coastline
A new experiment is underway that will help forecast the shape of the Dutch coastline under changing climate conditions, involving scientists and engineers from the National Oceanography Centre.

Yaohua Wang receives Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry Best Paper Award 2012
Yaohua Wang is the recipient of the Best Paper Award 2012, presented by the Springer journal Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry (ABC).

Virology researcher awarded nearly $2 million to study chronic hepatitis E
A Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine scientist has been awarded nearly $2 million from the National Institutes of Health to better understand chronic hepatitis E virus by focusing on patients with chronic infections.

Quick, efficient chip cleans up common flaws in amateur photographs
Smartphone snapshots could be instantly converted into professional-looking photographs with just the touch of a button, thanks to a processor chip developed at MIT.

Spanish researchers develop a new system to liquefy and recover liquid Helium
The Spanish National Research Council, the University of Zaragoza and the US company GWR Instruments announced today that they have entered into a global collaboration agreement with Quantum Design International to license, commercialize and further develop a system to liquefy and recover liquid Helium used in research, industry and medical laboratories worldwide.

New scorpion discovery near metropolitan Tucson, Arizona
A team of American zoologists has discovered a new species of Sky Island scorpion from the Santa Catalina Mountains of Arizona, less than 10 miles from metropolitan Tucson.

That's the way the droplets adhere
A new technique developed by MIT researchers provides the first direct views of how drops and bubbles adhere to surfaces -- and how they let go.

Genetic variation controls predation: Benefits of being a mosaic
A genetically mosaic Eucalyptus tree is able to control which leaves are saved from predation because of alterations in its genes, finds an study published in BioMed Central's open access journal BMC Plant Biology.

BUSM authors propose potential epigenetic mechanisms for improved cancer therapy
A review article by researchers at Boston University School of Medicine proposes a new epigenetic hypothesis linked to tumor production and novel ideas about what causes progenitor cells to develop into cancer cells.

UCLA researchers develop new technique to scale up production of graphene micro-supercapacitors
While the demand for ever-smaller electronic devices has spurred the miniaturization of a variety of technologies, one area has lagged behind in this downsizing revolution: energy-storage units, such as batteries and capacitors.

Is there a link between childhood obesity and ADHD, learning disabilities?
A University of Illinois study has established a possible link between high-fat diets and such childhood brain-based conditions as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and memory-dependent learning disabilities.

Jurassic records warn of risk to marine life from global warming
The risk posed by global warming and rising ocean temperatures to the future health of the world's marine ecosystem has been highlighted by scientists studying fossil records.

Breakthrough study opens door to broader biomedical applications for Raman spectroscopy
Raman spectroscopy has enabled incredible advances in numerous scientific fields and is a powerful tool for tissue classification and disease recognition, although there have been considerable challenges to using the method in a clinical setting.

Novel coronavirus well-adapted to humans, susceptible to immunotherapy
The new coronavirus that has emerged in the Middle East is well-adapted to infecting humans but could potentially be treated with immunotherapy, according to a study to be published on February 19 in mBio®, the online open-access journal of the American Society for Microbiology.

AGI announces first recipient of the Harriet Evelyn Wallace Scholarship for women in geoscience
Congratulations to Kelly M. Deuerling, the first recipient of AGI's new Harriet Evelyn Wallace Scholarship for women in geoscience.

Moffitt researchers say silencing of retinoblastoma gene regulates differentiation of myeloid cells
Researchers at the Moffitt Cancer Center have found a potential mechanism by which immune suppressive myeloid-derived suppressor cells can prevent immune response from developing in cancer.

It's not just amyloid: White matter hyperintensities and Alzheimer's disease
New findings by Columbia researchers suggest that along with amyloid deposits, white matter hyperintensities may be a second necessary factor for the development of Alzheimer's disease.

IU research: Rock-paper-scissors a parable for cycles in finance, fashion, politics and more
Using a grown-up version of the rock-paper-scissors game, Indiana University cognitive scientists offer a new theory of the group dynamics that arise in situations as varied as cycles of fashion, fluctuations of financial markets, eBay bidding wars and political campaign strategies.

Improvement in child cancer survival rates threatened by lack of new drug development
Remarkable improvements in survival from childhood cancer have taken place in high- income countries over the past 50 years, but further progress is being threatened by increasingly strict research regulations and insufficient development of new drugs, according to a major new Lancet Oncology Series on improving cancer care for children and young people.

Stanford researchers develop tool for reading the minds of mice
Stanford scientists have developed a system for observing real-time brain activity in a live mouse.

Nation could double energy productivity
Researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory have long understood that using energy more efficiently can be just as beneficial as finding new ways to produce energy more efficiently.

Greater security in the subways
Tecnalia is participating in the SECUREMETRO project which is aimed at the development and investigation of protective systems for metro vehicles that can enable us to travel with a greater level of safety in the case of a disastrous event.

Is there a link between coffee drinking and mortality?
A large study of nearly half a million older adults followed for about 12 years revealed a clear trend: As coffee drinking increased, the risk of death decreased.

NASA's Webb telescope to have a Texas-sized presence at the South by Southwest Festival
Everything is bigger in Texas and a life-sized model of the world's largest space telescope, NASA's James Webb Space Telescope will be on display at the South by Southwest (SWSX) Interactive Festival along with Webb-related exhibits, educational events, interactives, visualizations, scientists and much more.

Computer modeling reveals how surprisingly potent hepatitis C drug works
A study by researchers from Los Alamos National Laboratory and a multinational team reveals how daclatasvir, a direct-acting antiviral agent in development for the treatment of hepatitis C virus (HCV), targets one of its proteins and causes the fastest viral decline ever seen with anti-HCV drugs -- within 12 hours of treatment.

5-ALA fluorescence guides resection of recurrent glioblastoma multiforme
Neurosurgeons describe the use of 5-aminolevulinic acid (5-ALA) fluorescence in guiding resection of recurrent glioblastoma multiforme (GBM).

Newt transcriptome offers insight into tissue regeneration
Scientists have identified protein families expressed during tissue regeneration in newts, providing the groundwork for research into whether particular sets of genes are used for the purpose.

NYU project to examine social media's impact on political attitudes and behavior
NYU faculty have established a project to examine the impact of social media use on political attitudes and participation by applying methods from a range of academic disciplines.

NASA saw Tropical Storm Haruna come together
Tropical Storm Haruna came together on Feb. 19 in the Southern Indian Ocean and two NASA satellites provided visible and infrared imagery that helped forecasters see the system's organization.

Fear, anger or pain -- Why do babies cry?
Spanish researchers have studied adults' accuracy in the recognition of the emotion causing babies to cry.

Unplanned hospitalization more likely in people with several illnesses, mental health conditions
People with multiple illnesses are much more likely to be admitted to hospital unexpectedly, and mental health issues and economic hardship further increase the likelihood, according to a study in CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal).
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