Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

December 12, 2013
For altitude training, a narrow window for success
In a new study, researchers found that living between 2,000 and 2,500 meters above sea level offered the best performance enhancement compared to living at higher or lower elevations.

PIK3CA gene mutations make HER2- and hormone receptor-positive breast cancers treatment-resistant
Women with breast cancer characterized by high levels of the protein HER2 and hormone receptors gained much less benefit from presurgery treatment with chemotherapy and HER2-targeted therapies if their cancer had one or more mutations in the PIK3CA gene, according to results presented here at the 2013 San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium, held Dec.

Programming smart molecules
Harvard computer scientists have shown that an important class of artificial intelligence (AI) algorithms could be implemented using chemical reactions.

Civilians trained by American mental health professionals bring healing to traumatized victims of Libya's civil war, Baylor study finds
Civilians traumatized by Libya's civil war in 2011 -- which left many homeless, poor and grieving -- have virtually no access to mental health professionals, but many have found healing through small groups led by Libyan volunteers who were trained by American professionals, according to a Baylor University study.

High levels of maternal care has life-long impact on vulnerability to stress
A new study shows that high levels of maternal care during the early post-natal period in rodents can reduce the sensitivity of the offspring to stressful events during adulthood.

Nobel winners for discoveries on cellular vesicle transport speak out at ASCB in New Orleans
The discoverers of how cells secrete vital substances such as insulin will bring their new Nobel prizes and address the ASCB meeting in New Orleans.

Bureau of Reclamation & Santa Ana Watershed Project Authority complete Santa Ana Watershed study
Reclamation Commissioner Michael L. Connor released the Santa Ana River Watershed Basin Study, which addresses water supply and demand projections for the next 50 years and identifies potential climate change impacts to Southern California's Santa Ana River Watershed.

Is laughter really the best medicine?
Laughter may not be the best medicine after all and can even be harmful to some patients, suggests the authors of a paper published in the Christmas edition of The BMJ.

A new species of horse, 4.4 million years old
Researchers, including a scientist from Case Western Reserve University, have announced the discovery of a new species of fossil horse from 4.4 million-year-old fossil-rich deposits in Ethiopia.

EU support for sharing field operational test data
The European Commission has granted funding for the FOT-Net Data project, whose main aim is to make traffic data collected in field operational tests more widely available to researchers.

Quantum waves at the heart of organic solar cells
Researchers have been able to tune

A new definition for old age
Age is not just the number of years one has lived, argue IIASA population researchers.

Rapid evolution of novel forms: Environmental change triggers inborn capacity for adaptation
In this week's edition of the journal Science, a team of researchers from Harvard Medical School and Whitehead Institute report that, at least in the case of one variety of cavefish, one agent of evolutionary change is the heat shock protein known as HSP90.

Longer maternity leaves lower women's risk of postpartum depression
The more leave time from work that a woman takes after giving birth, the lower her risk of experiencing postpartum depression, according to a study led by Dr.

Environment drives genetics in 'Evolution Canyon'; discovery sheds light on climate change
Virginia Bioinformatics Institute researchers studying life from a unique natural environment in Israel discover heat stress seems to influence a species' genetic makeup, a finding that may influence understanding of climate change.

Is smoking cannabis and driving the new drinking and driving?
Alcohol consumption and smoking among grade 7-12 students in Ontario, Canada is at an all-time low; however recreational use of over-the-counter drugs is on the rise.

Collapse of the universe is closer than ever before
Maybe it happens tomorrow. Maybe in a billion years. Physicists have long predicted that the universe may one day collapse, and that everything in it will be compressed to a small hard ball.

Where water is limited, researchers determine how much water is enough
Today, December 12, JoVE, the Journal of Visualized Experiments, has published an environmental research technique that could turn the age-old task of watering crops into an exact science.

What the past tells us about modern sea-level rise
Researchers from the University of Southampton and the Australian National University report that sea-level rise since the industrial revolution has been fast by natural standards and -- at current rates -- may reach 80 cm above the modern level by 2100 and 2.5 meters by 2200.

Wayne State discovers potential treatment for skin and corneal wound healing in diabetics
A team of Wayne State University researchers recently developed several diabetic models to study impaired wound healing in diabetic corneas.

Whooping cough vaccine antigen disappearing from bacteria in US
Vaccines for whooping cough contain three to five protective antigens, the presence of which are critical to the vaccine's effectiveness.

Partially blocking blood vessels' energy source may stop cancer growth, blindness & other conditions
Inhibiting the formation of new blood vessels is a common strategy for treating a range of conditions such as cancer, inflammatory diseases, and age-related macular degeneration.

Smashing science: Livermore scientists discover how explosives respond to shockwaves
Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory researchers have combined ultrafast time-resolved experimental measurements with theory to reveal how an explosive responds to a high-impact shock.

Drug cuts breast cancer cases by more than 50 percent in high risk women
Taking the breast cancer drug anastrozole for five years reduced the chances of post-menopausal women at high risk of breast cancer developing the disease by 53 percent compared with women who took a placebo, according to a study published in the Lancet today.

Fox Chase trial tests promising treatment in early breast cancer
Researchers at Fox Chase are enrolling newly diagnosed breast cancer patients into a clinical trial of the promising drug reparixin, which targets tumors' ability to self-renew.

Blind cavefish offer evidence for alternative mechanism of evolutionary change
In a blind fish that dwells in deep, dark Mexican caves, scientists have found evidence for a long-debated mechanism of evolutionary change that is distinct from natural selection of spontaneously arising mutations, as reported this week in the journal Science.

Antihormone therapy anastrozole may provide new option for breast cancer prevention
Breast cancer incidence among postmenopausal women at high risk for developing the disease was significantly reduced by the antihormone therapy anastrozole, indicating that the drug may be an effective new option for breast cancer prevention for this group of women, according to initial results of a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial presented here at the 2013 San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium, held Dec.

Research shows correlation between adult height and underlying heart disease
Minneapolis Heart Institute Foundation research cardiologist Dr. Michael Miedema is the lead author of a paper published by Circulation -- Cardiovascular Imaging, a journal of the American Heart Association, that suggests a connection between an adult's height and the prevalence of coronary artery calcium, a direct marker of plaque in the arteries that feed the heart.

With new study, aquatic comb jelly floats into new evolutionary position
In a study that compares the genomes of aquatic life forms, researchers have found evidence to shuffle the branches of the tree of life.

Hubble discovers water vapor venting from Jupiter's moon Europa
The NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope has discovered water vapor erupting from the frigid surface of Jupiter's moon Europa, in one or more localized plumes near its south pole.

How bats took over the night
Blessed with the power of echolocation -- reflected sound -- bats rule the night skies.

Study shows symptoms linked to poor quality of life in long-term childhood
Due to improved treatments and technologies, more children than ever are surviving cancer.

First step of metastasis halted in mice with breast cancer
Cell biologists at Johns Hopkins have identified a unique class of breast cancer cells that lead the process of invasion into surrounding tissues.

Bonefish spawning behavior in the Bahamas surprises researchers, should aid conservation
Bonefish, sometimes called the gray ghost, are among the most elusive and highly prized quarry of recreational anglers in the Florida Keys, the Bahamas and similar tropical habitats around the world.

Gates funding helps put global patent system under The Lens
It's like a Wikipedia for intellectual property and it's putting the tools of innovation back into the hands of every citizen.

A powder to enhance NMR signals
Coupled with Nuclear Magnetic Resonance, Dynamic Nuclear Polarization shows strong advantages over

First test to predict acute mountain sickness
The first test to identify acute mountain sickness has been developed by a team of researchers in Italy and France and is presented today at EuroEcho-Imaging 2013.

Salmonella jams signals from bacteria-fighting mast cells
A protein in Salmonella inactivates mast cells -- critical players in the body's fight against bacteria and other pathogens -- rendering them unable to protect against bacterial spread in the body, according to researchers at Duke Medicine and Duke-National University of Singapore.

New book explores intersectionality in political institutions
Dr. Surya Monro, Reader in Sociology and Social Policy and member of the Centre for Research in the Social Sciences, has co authored a new book which looks at specific ways in which political institutions, policies, and political engagement can define, marginalize, and (dis)empower those they seek to serve.

Study of rodent family tree puts brakes on commonly held understanding of evolution
Rodents can tell us a lot about the way species evolve after they move into new areas, according to a new and exceptionally broad study conducted in part by Florida State University biological science Professor Scott J.

Keeping the lights on
A method of assessing the stability of large-scale power grids in real time could bring the world closer to its goal of producing and utilizing a smart grid.

Cancer diagnosis more likely to limit careers for patients from rural areas
Compared to their counterparts in cities, cancer patients living in rural areas tend to retire early after being diagnosed, and are less likely to go on paid disability leave while receiving treatment.

US ranks near bottom among industrialized nations in efficiency of health care spending
A new study by researchers at the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health and McGill University in Montreal reveals that the United States health care system ranks 22nd out of 27 high-income nations when analyzed for its efficiency of turning dollars spent into extending lives.

Surprise: Duck-billed dinosaurs had fleshy 'cocks comb'
A rare, mummified specimen of the duck-billed dinosaur Edmontosauraus regalis described in the Cell Press journal Current Biology on Dec.

Simple mathematical formula describes human struggles
The world seems to be getting more complex every day -- some might say too complex.

Global map to predict giant earthquakes
A team of international researchers, led by Monash University's Associate Professor Wouter Schellart, have developed a new global map of subduction zones, illustrating which ones are predicted to be capable of generating giant earthquakes and which ones are not.

First rock dating experiment performed on Mars
Although researchers have determined the ages of rocks from other planetary bodies, the actual experiments -- like analyzing meteorites and moon rocks -- have always been done on Earth.

NIH study links family structure to high blood pressure in African-American men
In a study of African-American men, researchers from the National Institutes of Health found that boys who grew up in two-parent homes were less likely to have high blood pressure as adults compared to those raised by a single parent.

Graphene-based nano-antennas may enable networks of tiny machines
By taking advantage of the unique electronic properties of the material known as graphene, researchers now believe they're on track to connect networks of nanomachines powered by small amounts of scavenged energy.

James Bond's preference for shaken martinis may be due to alcohol-induced tremor, say experts
James Bond's alcohol consumption may explain why he prefers his martinis

New iPad-based 'early warning' system for hospital patient monitoring
Handwritten medical observation charts could become a thing of the past in hospitals with the development of a pioneering patient monitoring system developed in Oxford hospitals.

New drug combination delayed disease progression for subgroup of women with metastatic breast cancer
Adding the drug dasatinib to a standard antihormone therapy, letrozole, doubled the time before disease progressed for women with hormone receptor-positive, HER2-negative metastatic breast cancer, according to results of a phase II clinical trial presented here at the 2013 San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium, held Dec.

From friend to foe: How benign bacteria evolve to virulent pathogens
Bacteria can evolve rapidly to adapt to environmental change. When the

APA report on gun violence identifies precursors and promising solutions
There is no single personality profile that can reliably predict who will use a gun in a violent act -- but individual prediction is not necessary for violence prevention, according to a comprehensive report on gun violence released today by the American Psychological Association.

Bioethics Commission on incidental findings: Anticipate and communicate
Researchers conduct a memory study, scan a participant's brain, and find more than they bargain for: a tumor.

Scientists improve human self-control through electrical brain stimulation
If you have ever said or done the wrong thing at the wrong time, you should read this.

Towards a better Internet: Computer science professors receive largest research award from the European Research Council
Four professors of computer science from Saarland University, the Max Planck Institute for Informatics and the Max Planck Institute for Software Systems won the highest-endowed research award given by the European Union, the ERC Synergy Grant.

Younger, early breast cancer patients often undergo unnecessary staging, imaging procedures at time
More than one third of younger, early stage breast cancer patients undergo unnecessary imaging procedures -- including position emission tomography, computed tomography, nuclear medicine bone scans and tumor markers -- at the time of staging and diagnosis, according to research from the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center.

Health spending is more efficient for men than for women
Health care spending is a large -- and ever increasing -- portion of government budgets.

Following the path to bacterial virulence
A research team at the Instituto Gulbenkian de Ciência revealed how a benign bacterium turns pathogenic.

Neuroscience method of optogenetics as good as electrical stimulation
Brown University researchers have shown that optogenetics -- a technique that uses pulses of visible light to alter the behavior of brain cells -- can be as good as or possibly better than the older technique of using small bursts of electrical current.

Mitt Romney's face looks different to Republicans and Democrats
A new study suggests that political bias can influence how people perceive the facial characteristics of a presidential candidate -- even after seeing his face on TV thousands of times.

Combining mutants results in 5-fold lifespan extension in C. elegans
What are the limits to longevity? Scientists at the Buck Institute combined mutations in two pathways well-known for lifespan extension and report a synergistic five-fold lifespan extension in the nematode C. elegans.

Sniffing out danger: Rutgers scientists say fearful memories can trigger heightened sense of smell
Neuroscientists at Rutgers University studying the olfactory -- sense of smell -- system in mice have discovered that fear reaction can occur at the sensory level, even before the brain has the opportunity to interpret that the odor could mean trouble.

Breast cancer treatment selection is improved by genomic tests at Jefferson Breast Care Center
Genomic testing that determines the molecular subtype of a woman's breast cancer provides a more precise prognosis and valuable guidance about the most effective avenue of treatment.

Diabetes drugs affect hearts of men, women differently
Widely used treatments for type 2 diabetes have different effects on the hearts of men and women, even as the drugs control blood sugar equally well in both sexes, according to researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St.

Ballistics study leads to changes at federal agency
A team of researchers led by Sam Houston State University identified a number of areas of improvement in a national database of forensic ballistics evidence used to link guns to violent crimes.

Medical mystery solved
An international team including a University of Colorado medical school professor has identified a new disease related to NKH, a finding that resolves previously baffling cases including the death of a Colorado girl.

UCLA stem cell scientists first to track joint cartilage development in humans
UCLA stem cell scientists identify and characterize articular cartilage stem/progenitor cells at different stages of human growth, from fifth week development to 60 years of age.

Worms and hot baths: Novel approaches to treating autism
Two unusual treatment approaches may have beneficial effects on the symptoms of autism in children and adults.

Researchers at Penn help develop a dynamic model of tissue failure
Researchers have used a series of experiments to develop a dynamic model of the stresses that stretch growing tissue.

Should your surname carry a health warning?
Patients named Brady could be at an increased risk of requiring a pacemaker compared with the general population, say researchers in a paper published in the Christmas edition of The BMJ this week.

Suicidality test being brought to market
The new test, based on research carried out at the Max Planck Institute of Psychiatry, should help doctors to decrease the risk of suicidality in patients treated with antidepressants who show certain gene markers.

Temple scientists studying mitochondrial calcium handling yield new disease targets
When things go wrong, cells turn to built-in safety mechanisms for survival.

Helping cancer researchers make sense of the deluge of genetic data
A web tool helps cancer researchers and physicians make sense out of a deluge of genetic data from nearly 100,000 patients and more than 50,000 mice.

Light and sound fire scientists' imaginations
The state of the art in photonics, phononics and phoXonics is discussed in a new open-access review led by scientists at Rice University.

New diagnostic test can detect chlamydia trachomatis in less than 20 minutes
Researchers have developed a new assay for rapid and sensitive detection of Chlamydia trachomatis, the most common sexually transmitted infection in humans.

Re-envisioining clinical science training
A group of eminent psychological scientists articulates a cutting-edge model for training in clinical science in a new special series of articles in Clinical Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science.

Mustering resiliency to cope after traumas is focus of new book
People often assume that experiencing something horrific automatically leads to posttraumatic stress disorder.

Can we turn unwanted carbon dioxide into electricity?
Researchers are developing a new kind of geothermal power plant that will lock away unwanted carbon dioxide underground -- and use it as a tool to boost electric power generation by at least 10 times compared to existing geothermal energy approaches.

Physical activity may slow kidney function decline in patients with kidney disease
In individuals with moderate-to-severe kidney disease, those performing more than 150 minutes of physical activity per week had the lowest rate of kidney function decline.

Using air transportation data to predict pandemics
Computational work conducted at Northwestern University has led to a new mathematical theory for understanding the global spread of epidemics.

NUS researchers develop novel bio-inspired method to grow high-quality graphene for high-end electronic devices
Drawing inspiration from how beetles and tree frogs keep their feet attached to submerged leaves, the study breaks current technology bottleneck and enables wide ranging applications for graphene.

Exercise improves drug-associated joint pain in breast cancer survivors
Breast cancer survivors taking aromatase inhibitors such as anastrozole, letrozole, and exemestane experienced a reduction in joint pain if they exercised while on treatment, according to results presented here at the 2013 San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium, held Dec.

New models of drug-resistant breast cancer point to better treatments
Human breast tumors transplanted into mice are excellent models of metastatic cancer and are providing insights into how to attack breast cancers that no longer respond to the drugs used to treat them, according to research from Washington University School of Medicine in St.

NASA satellite sees Tropical Cyclone Madi make landfall in southeastern India
As Tropical Cyclone Madi began its landfall in southeastern Tamil Nadu, India NASA's Aqua satellite passed overhead and captured an image of the weakening storm.

Researchers hope newly discovered gene interaction could lead to novel cancer therapies
Scientists from Virginia Commonwealth University Massey Cancer Center have revealed how two genes interact to kill a wide range of cancer cells.

Scientists map food security and self-provision of major cities
Wealthy capital cities vary greatly in their dependence on the global food market.

Astronomers discover first noble gas molecules in space
Noble gas molecules have been detected in space for the first time in the Crab Nebula, a supernova remnant, by astronomers at UCL.

Many older Americans rely on people, devices, other strategies to get by
Only about a third of Americans ages 65 and older are fully able to take care of themselves and go about their daily lives completely independently, according to a new study published online in the American Journal of Public Health.

Study results inform discussions regarding US policy on lung transplantation in children
A new analysis has found no evidence that children aged six to 11 years seeking a deceased donor lung transplant are disadvantaged in the current US lung allocation system.

New partnership aims to improve surgical care quality at Illinois hospitals
The Illinois chapters of the American College of Surgeons, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois, and Northwestern Medicine® have come together to offer selected hospitals across Illinois the opportunity to join the Illinois Surgical Quality Improvement Collaborative, a three-year effort to improve the safety and quality of surgical care in Illinois.

Center for Nano-Optics becomes top-level Georgia State University research center
The Center for Nano-Optics, a research center whose focus on the science of developing tools and instruments as small as 1,000 times thinner than a human hair could lead to major breakthroughs in technology and biomedicine, has been created at Georgia State University.

F1000Research peer-reviewed articles now visible on PubMed and PubMed Central
F1000Research, an original open science journal for life scientists, announces that articles published and peer-reviewed via its novel post-publication peer review model are now visible in PubMed, the world's largest and most-used biomedical literature database, and PubMed Central.

Caution to pregnant women on red meat diabetes link
Pregnant women and women planning to become pregnant can make use of the holiday season to adjust their diets and reduce the risk of gestational diabetes, according to researchers at the University of Adelaide's Robinson Institute.

New study shows link between perfluorinated compounds and diabetes
Perfluorinated compounds are environmental toxins that are found in fire extinguishing foam and water-repellent textiles and, for example.

Noble gas molecule discovered in space
A molecule containing a noble gas has been discovered in space by a team including astronomers from Cardiff University.

Study sheds light on risk of life-threatening blood clots in hospitalized children
Life-threatening blood clots occur so rarely in children that the condition, known as venous thromboembolism, is often not on pediatricians' mental radar screens -- an absence that can lead to woefully delayed recognition and treatment.

Fast radio bursts might come from nearby stars
First discovered in 2007,

Osteoporosis prevention strategies and new bone research focus of major Hong Kong meeting
Today, one of the largest clinical bone events in the Asia-Pacific region opened at the Hong Kong Conference and Exhibition Centre, drawing close to 850 international delegates from over 60 countries.

UCSF receives $15 million for malaria elimination campaign
UC San Francisco's Global Health Group has received a $15 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation for a pioneering effort to help nearly three dozen countries eliminate malaria within their borders.

Systems medicine paves the way for improved treatment for leukemia patients
A new individualized systems medicine strategy, developed at the Institute for Molecular Medicine Finland FIMM and the Helsinki University Central Hospital, enables a selection of potentially effective cancer therapies for individual patients.

Dec. 2013 Lithosphere now available online
In the latest issue of The Geological Society of America journal Lithosphere: Learn more about the Great Slave Lake shear zone in northwest Canada (open access article); the tectonic development of the Tibetan Plateau; and two flysch belts.

Leibniz Prizes 2014: DFG honors 11 outstanding researchers
The new recipients of Germany's most prestigious research prize have been announced.

Young tropical forests contribute little to biodiversity conservation
Ephemeral secondary forests may contribute little to tree-biodiversity conservation, according to a new report by scientists at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama.

Mayo Clinic: First in-human trial of endoxifen shows promise as breast cancer treatment
A Phase I trial of endoxifen, an active metabolite of the cancer drug tamoxifen, indicates that the experimental drug is safe, with early evidence for anti-tumor activity, a Mayo Clinic study has found.

Low-power tunneling transistor for high-performance devices at low voltage
A new type of transistor that could make possible fast and low-power computing devices for energy-constrained applications such as smart sensor networks, implantable medical electronics and ultra-mobile computing is feasible, according to Penn State researchers.

5 Michigan universities awarded NSF partnership grant to improve academic success
The National Science Foundation has awarded a collaborative $1.32 million grant to five Michigan universities for a project that will increase the academic success of underrepresented minority graduate students and postdoctoral scholars in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) fields, as well as women graduate students in gender-imbalanced fields.

Fatty acids crucial to embryonic development
One classical question in developmental biology is how different tissue types arise in the correct position of the developing embryo.

Exercise can reduce drug-related joint pain in breast cancer patients, study shows
Women being treated with breast cancer drugs known as aromatase inhibitors can markedly ease the joint pain associated with the drugs by engaging in moderate daily exercise, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Yale University investigators report in a study to be presented during the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium.

NIH network revolutionizes stroke clinical research
A network of 25 regional stroke centers working with nearby satellite facilities will span the country, have teams of researchers representing every medical specialty needed for stroke care and will address the three prongs of stroke research: prevention, treatment and recovery.

Speeding up gene discovery
MIT researchers develop a new gene-editing system that enables large-scale studies of gene function.

Scientists discover double meaning in genetic code
Scientists have discovered a second code hiding within DNA. The second code contains information that changes how scientists read the instructions contained in DNA and interpret mutations to make sense of health and disease.

National evidence-based guidelines for preventing healthcare-associated infections in NHS hospitals
The Journal of Hospital Infection has just released the awaited epic3 guidelines on infection prevention and control for a range of healthcare professionals.

Peripheral immune system may regulate vulnerability to depression
A new study shows that immune cells outside the brain may regulate propensity to develop depression.

How Wagner's operas held secrets of his disabling migraines and headaches
In a paper published in the Christmas edition of The BMJ, researchers have looked at how German composer Richard Wagner's disabling migraines and headaches influenced his operas.

Diet and physical activity may affect one's risk of developing kidney stones
Even small amounts of physical activity can lead to up to a 31 percent decreased risk of developing kidney stones.

Could 'methanol economy' help power post-fossil fuel era? New American Chemical Society video
Could a simple molecule known as methanol become a key energy source for the post-fossil fuel era?

Stealth maneuver allows nectar bats to target insect prey
A nectar-feeding bat that was thought to eat insects in passing has been discovered to target its moving prey with stealth precision, according to new research by scientists at Queen Mary University of London.

Deep sequencing of breast cancer tumors to predict clinical outcomes after single dose of therapy
New research examined how changes in the genetic composition of breast cancer tumors after brief exposure to either biologic therapy or chemotherapy can predict future clinical outcomes in patients.

Fox Chase study shows families don't understand genetic test results or their implications
A study done by researchers at Fox Chase shows that many relatives of patients who undergo testing for a gene linked to breast and ovarian cancers misinterpret the results, and less than half of those who could benefit from genetic testing say they plan to get tested themselves -- despite the fact that knowing your genetic status may help catch the disease in its earliest stages.

Enzyme BACE1 may be important in predicting onset of Alzheimer disease
The critical enzyme beta-secretase1 (BACE1) is known to be elevated in brains with sporadic Alzheimer disease (AD).
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