Year after John McCain's death, July 17 designated Glioblastoma Awareness Day

Movus/iStock(NEW YORK) -- Nearly a year after the death of longtime senator and former presidential candidate John McCain, authorities are calling attention to the disease that claimed his life.

Last month, the U.S. Senate designated July 17 as Glioblastoma Awareness Day, under a resolution introduced by McCain's former Senate colleague and longtime friend Lindsey Graham.

The bipartisan resolution was supported by co-sponsors Mitch McConnell, Elizabeth Warren, Kyrsten Sinema, Martha McSally and Ed Markey, according to the National Brain Tumor Society, which championed the bipartisan effort.

The measure seeks to raise public awareness and leverage support for research and treatment of glioblastoma, which the NBTS calls the most common and aggressive form of brain cancer.

“The passage of the Glioblastoma Awareness Day resolution is an affirmation that national leaders understand the urgency for action to find a cure for this terrible disease, which impacts thousands of Americans from every walk of life each year," NBTS CEO David F. Arons said on the passage of the resolution.

McCain was diagnosed with glioblastoma in July 2017 and died after a year-long battle on Aug. 25, 2018.

His widow, Cindy McCain, joined daughter Meghan, co-host of ABC's The View, to discuss the fight against the disease on Wednesday's program.

"Thirteen thousand people are diagnosed with the cancer my dad died of a year," Meghan McCain said. "It’s a really horrific cancer that we’re all committed to fighting."

Dr. Will Garneau of Johns Hopkins Hospital offered the following information about glioblastoma at the time that Sen. McCain was diagnosed:

What is glioblastoma, and why is it dangerous?

Glioblastoma multiforme is a tumor that develops in the connective tissue of the brain, originating in brain cells called astrocytes. It is a relatively rare disease that doctors estimate strikes only 3 in 100,000 people. The cancer is most commonly found in patients older than 60. Unlike many other cancers, glioblastoma does not spread to other organs; instead, it remains in the brain, growing quickly and invading surrounding tissues. As the cancerous cells multiply, their growth affects the rest of the brain by compressing adjacent structures.

What are some of the common symptoms of glioblastoma?

People with this type of tumor can experience a range of symptoms, including headaches, nausea, difficulty with speech or vision, weakness and even seizures. Before diagnosis, if doctors suspect brain cancer, they order imaging of the brain using a CT scan or MRI to try to detect a mass. While the imaging may suggest the presence of a tumor, a conclusive diagnosis requires the removal of cells from the area of concern, which are then tested to see if they are cancerous.

What is the prognosis?

Currently, glioblastoma is considered an incurable form of cancer. While prognoses can vary among patients, depending on the features of each cancer and the patient’s functioning, the outlook is generally poor.

Studies show a median survival range of six to 14 months. (Median survival is the amount of time between diagnosis and the point when half of patients have died and half are alive.) A very small percentage of patients may live for several years after diagnosis. Patients’ baseline health and age are important predictors, as is their response to therapy.

Other factors that can influence the prognosis are the location of the cancer in the brain, the genetic profile of the tumor and the extent to which doctors are able to remove the tumor through surgery. There is no single prognosis for this cancer; individual cases differ dramatically, and approaches to treatment are highly personalized.

How is it treated?

After a diagnosis of glioblastoma has been confirmed, a team of doctors representing different specialties will formulate a plan for treatment, which usually involves surgery, chemotherapy and radiation. If it’s determined that surgery is appropriate, neurosurgeons will attempt to remove as much of the cancer as possible while preserving adjacent healthy brain tissue.

Because glioblastoma tends to infiltrate deeply into surrounding tissues, patients will have residual cancer cells after surgery, even with a “complete resection.”

For this reason, the next step in treatment often involves chemotherapy and radiation in order to eliminate the cancer cells not removed by surgery. This phase typically involves weeks of therapy to treat the remaining cancer, which may leave the patient very weak and at risk of complications. Patients may undergo repeat imaging of the brain to assess recurrence, as well as close monitoring with different specialists.

Decisions regarding the length -- as well as the types -- of treatment must balance the patient’s fitness to undergo such treatments against their effectiveness. Doctors often tailor therapy according to the patient’s tolerance.

There are new forms of therapy using the body’s immune cells, reprogrammed to attack cancer. The research behind these treatments is still in the initial stages, but so far, these immunotherapy treatments have shown some promise against other forms of cancer, such as melanoma.

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Ground bison meat responsible for E. coli outbreak in 7 states: CDC

USFDA(ATLANTA) -- Ground bison meat has been linked to an E. coli outbreak in seven states, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Twenty-one people in Connecticut, Florida, Michigan, Missouri, New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania have been infected with the E. coli O103 and O121 strains.

Eight of those people were hospitalized, but no deaths or cases of hemolytic uremic syndrome, a type of kidney failure, have been reported.

Interviews with the infected people determined that the source was likely meat produced on Feb. 22 and April 30 by Northfork Bison Distributions, Inc., in Quebec, Canada, which was recalled on Tuesday, according to a CDC food safety alert. Those who became sick reported eating bison at both restaurants and their home.



The recalled meat was sold to distributors as ground bison and bison patties, referred to as Bison Burgers or Buffalo Burgers. Recalled ground bison was also sold to retailers in 4-ounce burger patties.

The CDC advised people who may have the recalled ground bison in their home to not consume it and throw it away or return it to the store for a refund.

"Even if some of the recalled patties have been eaten and no one got sick, do not eat them," the press release read.

In addition, the CDC recommended that consumers wash and sanitize places where recalled ground bison products were stored, including counter tops and refrigerators drawers or shelves, and also suggested that diners should request that bison burgers be cooked to an internal temperature of 160 degrees when ordering at a restaurant.

The CDC also also urged restaurants and retailers to check their freezers and storage for recalled products and to confirm with their suppliers that the ground bison they receive has not be recalled.

Symptoms of an E. coli infection include severe stomach cramps, diarrhea and and vomiting that usually lasts five to seven days. The ailments typically begin three to four days after swallowing the Shiga toxin-producing E. coli germ.

Those who experience symptoms should talk to their healthcare provider, write down what they are in the week prior to becoming sick, report their illness to the health department and assist public health investigators by answering questions about their illness.

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Child gun deaths lower in states with stricter gun laws

Kameleon007/iStock(NEW YORK) -- Children living in states with stricter gun laws have fewer gun-related deaths, according to a new study in Pediatrics. This was the first study to look at gun laws exclusively in relation to child deaths and it reveals an important association between the two.

“More than 10 children die from firearms every day, and another 50 are injured by firearms daily,” Dr. Monika Goyal, lead study author and an associate professor of pediatrics and emergency medicine, told ABC News. “This work is further contributing to the growing evidence that firearm legislation can be effective at reducing injury and death among children.”

When looking at the U.S. compared to other high-income countries, the study cites research that says the U.S. has both the highest rate of gun ownership and the weakest gun laws. Within the U.S., gun laws differ depending on the state.

The researchers looked at states that had universal background checks when buying guns or ammunition, or laws requiring gun identification. Universal background checks for gun purchasing were the most common laws seen across the country.

Overall, the study says 21,000 children died from guns between 2011 and 2015. Children were defined as anyone under the age of 21. There were 14,583 deaths for 18-21 year olds and 6,658 deaths in those younger than 18. States that had universal background checks in place for at least five years had a 35 percent lower rate of child gun deaths.

In response to previous medical research about guns in November 2018, the National Rifle Association of America tweeted that “self-important anti-gun doctors” should “stay in their lane.”

The NRA also sent a response to this study to ABC News. “Any social scientist worth their salt has to question a study that cherry picks a microscopic 5-year time window of data when there is more than 50 years of data available,” Lars Dalseide, an NRA spokesman, said in a statement. “They used an arbitrary (at best) metric to measure gun laws, and they included adults in a study about children suggests this study is more propaganda than scientific research.”

The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence is a nonprofit that rates states on the strictness of their gun laws. For every 10-point increase in a gun law score across states, there was a 4 percent drop in gun-related deaths, after factoring in things like race/ethnicity, education, gun ownership and household income. The Brady Campaign scorecard began in 2011, which is why the study authors chose that year as a starting point.

Goyal said she would like to collaborate with the NRA on a different scorecard.

"As a pediatrician this is a nonpartisan issue for us," she said. "This is not a political debate for us. We’re trying to figure out how to keep kids safe.”

She continued, “I care for children through the age of 21 and sometimes up to the age of 25. From our perspective, 18, 19, 20 year olds are children. They are part of the pediatric continuum. This is the standard.”

The NRA maintains that it, too, is intent on the safety of our nation’s children.

“No organization in the world has done more to promote the safe and responsible use of firearms than the National Rifle Association," said Dalseide. "Thanks to initiatives like NRA’s Eddie Eagle GunSafe Program, the accidental firearm death rate among children has dropped almost 78% in the last 20 years."

Perhaps this can be an area of nonpartisan collaboration.

“Just as we have invested in rigorous scientific research for motor vehicle passenger safety in this country, which has in turn dramatically reduced the number of pediatric deaths from motor vehicle collisions. We must embrace the same evidence based strategies if we wish to curtail the firearm epidemic in this country,” said Goyal.

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Pita Pal Foods hummus products recalled over possible Listeria contamination

TheCrimsonMonkey/iStock(HOUSTON) -- A Houston-based hummus company has recalled nearly 100 products over concerns of a possible Listeria contamination, the company announced.

Pita Pal Foods LP issued the voluntary recall on products made between May 30, 2019, and June 25, 2019, after the bacteria Listeria monocytogenes was found at one of the company's manufacturing facilities during a Food and Drug Administration inspection, according to a company statement issued Monday.

The Listeria monocytogenes was not found in any of the finished products, the company said.

The bacteria can cause listeriosis, a serious infection that can lead to death, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The infection is most likely to affect pregnant women and their newborns, adults 65 or older and people with weakened immune systems.

Around 1,600 people are infected with listeriosis each year and about 260 die, according to the CDC.

No illnesses were reported regarding the hummus products, Pita Pal Foods said. The products were distributed around the country and to the United Arab Emirates.

Anyone who purchased one of the recalled products is urged to return it for a full refund.

For a full list of recalled products, click here.

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Cow cuddling is a thing and it costs $75 an hour

Mountain Horse Farm(NAPLES, N.Y.) -- If you love to connect with canines, you'll probably also enjoy cuddling with cows.

The practice is fairly common in the Netherlands but far less so in the U.S.

Mountain Horse Farm, a bed and breakfast in upstate New York, may be the only place in the nation to bear hug bovine.

Owner Suzanne Vullers told Good Morning America that the inn has offered cow cuddling since soon after the cows arrived last spring.

The Naples, N.Y., farm has long offered horse therapy for its guests, but she only became aware of the similar therapeutic benefits of cows on a trip to her home country of the Netherlands.

"Cows lie down much more than horses," she said. "They get very quiet and soft. Just siting with them makes people go quiet too."

Vullers stressed that her inn is "not a petting zoo." All the animals, she said, are free to make a choice about when and how they want to interact.

Guests learn how to interact with the cows and how they prefer to be approached. "We teach them the best practices," Vullers said. "How to walk up to them, how they greet each other." She said that because the cows have the freedom to interact with humans or not, when they do it makes the connection much more genuine.

The experience happens once or twice a day and scheduling preference is given to guests of Mountain Horse Farm. Vullers said tt makes for ease of rescheduling should something, like the weather, disrupts the cuddle. The cost is $75 per hour for two people.

As for the feedback, "people can't stop smiling," Vullers told GMA. When people connect with the cows, "nothing else exists. They forget their cell phones, forget themselves and the problems they have. It's a really unique moment."

And while the cow cuddling experience is getting more popular, Vullers said the inn has no plans to change the way they do things.

"The most important thing is the well-being of the animals," she said. "Maybe they have to wait until next year. The guests just have to be patient."

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Why knowing the type of car windows you have could save your life

ABC News(NEW YORK) -- This summer as you hit the road, you might want to check out your car windows. The American Automobile Association (AAA) is out with a new report that says just knowing the type of windows you have in your car could save your life.

There are two main types of glass in a car: laminated and tempered glass.

Tempered glass fractures into small, less dangerous pieces in hopes of preventing serious injuries from sharp edges. Laminated glass is two or more panes of glass that are joined together by a layer of plastic and is harder to break and is meant to prevent ejections in an accident.

While most windshields are made of laminated glass, federal regulations permit side windows to be either laminated or tempered, and you may find either type in your side and rear window.

Dr. Gordon Giesbrecht, a physiologist at the University of Manitoba, studies extreme rescues and says the use of laminated windows in some cars’ side windows has some pluses and some minuses.

“They will certainly decrease the number of people being ejected," Giesbrecht told ABC News' Good Morning America. "But then the problem is if you ever are trapped in your car and you need to break a window, it’s very, very difficult.”

Good Morning America teamed up with Sargent Chris Lambert with the Indiana State Police to show the difference between the two glasses. GMA used two popular rescue tools -- the resqme and the Lifehammer -- and attempted to break windows made of tempered glass and laminated glass.

“One of the important reasons for [these tools] is for self-rescue," Lambert told ABC News' Will Reeve. "One of the myths that we have to dispel is the myth that as soon as an incident happens, there’s gonna be a police officer or a firefighter there to help them.”

First, GMA tried a car with tempered glass and used the resqme tool on the front driver’s side window and the Lifehammer on the front passenger window. Lambert said in each case the tool should be used in the lower corner of the window. With both tools, the glass instantly shattered into little pieces when struck, just as it’s intended, enabling an easy escape.

When GMA switched to laminated glass, it was a different story -- neither tool was able to shatter the windows despite repeated blows.

Manufacturers of the tools acknowledge that they will not work on laminated glass and are intended only for use on tempered glass.

Lifehammer previously did not note on its website that its product does not work on laminated glass, but after GMA reached out, they added that it “breaks non-laminated car glass.”

Resqme's website says its product “only works on tempered glass.”

“The device will work on tempered only and not laminated," Jessica Whitney, operations coordinator with resqme, told GMA. "So, it’s important to research what type of glass is in each of your windows and car so you will know the proper protocol to escape in an emergency.”

Even if your car has laminated glass in the front side windows, many times the back passenger and rear windows have tempered glass where these devices will work, Lambert noted.

Experts say it’s also important to remember that if you find yourself in an emergency situation before you even try breaking a window, unbuckle your seat belt and try to roll the window down to escape.

Lambert said the type of glass in a car shouldn’t influence your decision of which car to buy, but it should influence the way you have established your safety plan.

So, how do you know what type of windows you have?

It’s usually pretty simple to find out.

The corner of your car window will often include a label stating whether the glass is tempered or laminated. If the window does not have a label, you can check a list prepared by AAA which states whether the car was produced with laminated windows. You can also reach out to your manufacturer to find out what is in your car.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Eating sugar will actually make you want to eat more sugar

HandmadePictures/iStock(NEW YORK) -- Sugar is addicting -- and science definitely agrees.

That's why decreasing your sugar intake or quitting it altogether can be very difficult.

Dr. Jennifer Ashton, ABC News' chief medical correspondent, says sugar can be found in much of what we eat. Although it makes those products taste good, they can increase your sugar intake above recommended amounts.

"Read those labels," Ashton said. "Turn everything that comes out of a package around and look at the sugar content."

According to the World Health Organization, women should have 25 grams of sugar a day and men should have 37 grams of sugar a day. For children, it varies depending on age.

Ashton sat down with Good Morning America to share five approaches to beat sugar cravings:

Tip 1: Quit cold turkey

There is scientific and nutritional evidence to support the fact that sugar addiction is the same, in terms of the brain's biochemistry, as addiction to cocaine, according to Ashton.

"How does one try to kick a cocaine habit? Cold turkey," she said. "So you can try that with sugar -- cold turkey."

Tip 2: A slow taper

Slowly removing sweet foods and drinks from your diet might be an easier approach.

"If you feel as though you are out of control or moody without your first soft drink of the day, or until you have a piece of chocolate, you need to consider slowly draining your system from that need for sugar," said Dr. Niket Sonpal, internist and gastroenterologist at Touro College of Osteopathic Medicine in New York City.

Sonpal said eating a piece of fruit is the best way to minimize your desire for sugar and recommends avoiding all processed sugars.

Tip 3: 5 Day/2 Day

The five-day, two-day approach is a way for people to look at their diet through a weekly lens.

In this strategy, you strictly avoid all added sugars from Monday through Friday. This means reading labels closely, avoiding sweet foods and drinks, and not adding sugar to your coffee or tea.

Once the weekend rolls around, people can relax the restrictions.

"Anything you do for five days is going to eventually have more of an impact than things you do for two days," Ashton said. "You'll start to lose weight because that is always a byproduct of cutting sugar."

The weight loss from the five-day, two-day approach serves as positive reinforcement for people to continue doing it more. It can start off as the five-day, two-day approach and eventually build up to six days or seven days until eventually you start to lose your craving for sweet foods and drinks.

Tip 4: Don't drink your calories

One drink that's high in calories can make up that day's sugar intake in no time.

Ashton recommends drinking calorie-free beverages such as water or seltzer. That doesn't mean you can't enjoy a summer cocktail or a glass of wine, but she said to be cautious about how many calories are in a drink and how many of those drinks you're consuming.

It's also important to rethink social behaviors that lead to drinking extra calories. Sonpal said many people have social rituals during the day to help de-stress from tasks and meetings such as going to a cafe with a coworker midday to get a sugary caffeinated iced drink. He recommends replacing that with something that is healthy and rewarding.

"Ask yourself a simple question before you eat or drink anything: What macro nutrient group does this belong to? Is it a protein? Is it a fat or is it a carb?" he said.

If the answer to that is carb, that means you are just ingesting more sugar.

Tip 5: It's not one size fits all

What might work for one person could work differently for another. For this reason, Ashton said people should find an approach that works best for them.

In doing so, it's important to be accountable to yourself. Pay close attention to what is being put in your body and how that's affecting it.

"You owe yourself the opportunity to be as healthy and as happy as you can be," Ashton said. "And if that means cutting sugar a little bit, go for it."

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


New York woman who turns 114 continues to inspire

Courtesy Visiting Nurse Service of New York(NEW YORK) -- Alelia Murphy just made history.

On July 6, while wearing a long, elegant yellow dress, white gloves and a tiara, she celebrated her 114th birthday, becoming the oldest living person in the United States.

Her historic accomplishment was celebrated alongside her family and friends and was verified by the Gerontology Research Group, a database that records the oldest humans in the world. Murphy had a simple piece of advice when asked the secret to living a long life.

"Treat people right," she said.

Her family said that, most of all, Murphy has loved spending time with them and valuing God, something her daughter attributes to her longevity.

"She always said God comes first," Murphy's 71-year-old daughter, Rose Green, said. "And I found that to be true."

Murphy's party was held at the Harlem State Office Building in New York, guests told ABC News. Guests said it was evident Murphy enjoyed the moment.

"She looked relaxed," Shana Harmongoff, an event planner for the party, said. "She didn't say much, but she was smiling."

Green said her mother has not lost her sense of humor.

"If you're around her, you're laughing all the time," Green said. "I'll be telling her, 'Mom, it's time to take the medication.' And she'll tell the aides, 'You take the medication, you take the medication.'"

Murphy was born on July 6, 1905, in North Carolina. This was just a few years before the first Model T automobile was introduced by Henry Ford, and just a couple years after the first silent movie was released. Green said her mom, who grew up living in the pre-civil rights era, had to drink from separate water fountains than her white peers and enter stores and restaurants through back doors.

"She always taught me to keep going, whatever happens," Green said.

Murphy held several jobs, from working in a hat factory to becoming a top seller of cosmetic products.

Murphy's visiting nurse, Natalia Mhlambiso, who works for the Visiting Nurse Service of New York, comes to Murphy's home in Harlem, where she lives with her granddaughter. Mhlambiso said processed food was not around when Murphy grew up in North Carolina, and that she continues to eat healthy to this day and never ventured into alcohol or drugs.

"She is where she is now because of what she did when she was young," Mhlambiso said.

Murphy maintains healthy blood pressure and has not experienced any heart problems -- an incredible feat for someone her age.

Those close to Murphy said she's still enjoying life.

"She is always smiling when I come in," Mhlambiso said. "She is still looking forward to go out."

 Still, she always speaks her mind.

"She will tell you when she has pain," Mhlambiso said. "[And] what makes her comfortable."

Murphy is only two years younger than the oldest man alive, Kane Tanaka, 116, who resides in Japan. She currently is the eighth-oldest person in the world, according to the Gerontology Research Group's ranking.

But many did not think a celebration at this age was possible.

"It's just a history unheard of," Mhlambiso said.

There may even be a more extravagant party for Murphy's 115th birthday.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Flushing drugs down the toilet could lead to 'meth-gators,' Tennessee police department warns

iStock(LORETTO, Tenn.) -- Police in Tennessee are warning residents against flushing drugs down the toilet in the event of a potential drug bust, saying that animals could ingest the substances and wreak havoc on the community.

When officers from the Loretto Police Department went to serve a search warrant on Saturday, they found the suspect, Andy Perry, allegedly attempting to flush meth and several pieces of drug paraphernalia down the toilet, according to police.

"He was unsuccessful," police said, adding that 24 fluid ounces of liquid meth and the paraphernalia were seized.

Police are advising those in possession of drugs from flushing them down the toilet because they will taint the nearby streams and retention ponds.

"Now our sewer guys take great pride in releasing water that is cleaner than what is in the creek, but they are not really prepared for meth," police said. "Ducks, geese, and other fowl frequent our treatment ponds and we shudder to think what one all hyped up on meth would do."

Loretta Police Chief Bobby Joe Killen told ABC News that while there have been no reports of wild animals on drugs in the area, the department decided to post the warning after seeing past reports of a squirrel that may have been fed meth in Alabama, and a python and other animals that were addicted to meth at an Australian prison.

"As far as I know, there's no methed-up gators being sighted anywhere," Killen said. "It's just a joke to let people know they don't need to be flushing their drugs of any kind down the sewer system. They need to dispose of it in a proper manner."

Killen said the police department often adds jokes to its public service announcements to help get the point across.

"We take our job seriously, but we like to joke amongst ourselves at the department," he said. "When you work eight, 10-hour shifts in our line of work, there are times when we like to laugh a little bit. Otherwise, you take you problems home."

Killen added, "I learned from my granddaddy, the more you smile, the more you laugh, the longer you live."

He's been with the department for 22 years and a chief for 29 years, he said.

Police said they'd help residents dispose of their drugs in a "proper way." In addition, prescription pills can be disposed of at the Loretto City Hall.

Perry was charged with possession of meth for resale, possession of drug paraphernalia and tampering with evidence, police said. Perry is still being held at the Lawrence County Jail, a representative from the jail told ABC News.

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HIV, AIDS-related deaths down since 2010, but more work needed: UNAIDS

LOVE_LIFE/iStock(NEW YORK) -- The The Joint United Nations Programme on HIV and AIDS says Tuesday that while progress in reduconing the spread of HIV/AIDS and increasing access to treatment continues, the improvements have come more slowly than in past years.

A new report, released this week, shows mixed results. Some countries, the organization says, are making impressive gains in the fight against AIDS, while others are seeing new increases in HIV infections and AIDS-related deaths.

"We urgently need increased political leadership to end AIDS," UNAIDS Executive Director Gunilla Carlsson said in a press release. "Ending AIDS is possible if we focus on people, not diseases, create road maps for the people and locations being left behind, and take a human rights-based approach to reach people most affected by HIV."

The report also notes that 1.7 million people became newly infected with HIV in 2018. That figure was still 16 percent lower than in 2010. Much of the improvement has been located in eastern and southern Africa, UNAIDS says. While eastern Europe and central Asia, the Middle East and North Africa, and Latin America have all seen "worrying increases" in new infections.

UNAIDS notes that AIDS-related deaths have fallen by 33 percent since 2010. The figure for 2018 was down to 770,000 deaths.

Still, the agency says much more work remains to be done. "This starts with investing adequately and smartly and by looking at what's making some countries so successful," Carlsson said.

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