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Birdseye: Health Tips from the Blogosphere

  • A diet for healthy teeth

    Here are some dietary pointers to help you improve the health of your teeth and gums. These are based on the research work of Melvin Page, Weston Price and Francis Pottenger which, in turn, has been the basis of many of today’s dietary regimes.
    • Protein. Eat small amounts of protein regularly - around 2–4 oz per serving per meal are ideal - which should comprise young red meat such as veal and lamb, or fish or fowl. If you are vegetarian, eat eggs. Do not heat meat above 110 degrees F as crucial enzymes will then be damaged. Avoid frying in oil or grease.
    • Vegetables. Eat these as often as possible and, ideally, raw or lightly cooked. Vegetables should be crunchy and organic whenever possible.
    • Fruits. Eat one fruit at a time and on an empty stomach. Avoid the sweetest types and tropical fruits—except papaya and pineapple, which are rich in digestive enzymes. Eat only fresh and organic fruit.
    • Carbohydrates. Ideally, vegetables should be your carbohydrates. Limit all grains as much as possible and avoid, at all costs, white bread. The only bread that is acceptable is 100% rye. The only grains allowed in Price’s dietary protocols are brown rice, unprocessed rye and rolled oats.
    • Fats. Only cold-pressed extra virgin olive oil, walnut oil, flaxseed and grapeseed oils should be used. These oils should never be heated or used in cooking. Avoid all hydrogenated and partially hydrogenated fats, including all margarines, and avoid peanut butter. Instead, eat avocados and raw nuts.
    • Dairy. All dairy products from cows are to be avoided. Page maintained that milk is even more detrimental than sugar. An acceptable substitute is raw goat and sheep cheeses and milk.
    • Liquids. Drink plenty of water every day. The ideal amount is a half-ounce of water for every pound of your weight. If you must drink wine, drink it only at mealtimes and only red wine. Avoid all Californian varieties.
    • In general, it’s better to eat little and often than to eat one or two heavy meals each day. Ideally, have three to five small meals every day, and drink fluids one hour before meals and two hours afterwards.
  • Cleaning up your water: four solutions

    Tony Edwards' Special Report in the June edition of WDDTY reveals that traces of pharmaceutical drugs are likely to be present in every glass of tap water you drink.

    Here are 4 possible ways of cleaning up your water and avoiding these health risks.

    Jug filters. The simplest and cheapest method for purer water, most comprise two components: one filter that contains carbon particles to absorb contaminants; and another filter made of a resin that binds to the ions in minerals and removes them. The trouble is, they’re not 100-percent effective. According to Brita, the leading filtered-jug manufacturer, their filters only remove 85 per cent of chlorine residues and 70 per cent of pesticides (and may or may not eliminate pharmaceuticals).

    Plumbed-in filters. These are typically installed beneath the kitchen sink with their own outlet tap at sink level. A major manufacturer in the UK is Pozzani, which makes an entry-level carbon filtration kit that claims to
    remove cryptosporidia, up to 90 per cent of pesticides and 99 per cent of chlorine residues. Pozzani also offers tailor-made filtration systems based on where you live, choosing the carbon filter likely to be the best at removing your local pollutants.

    Reverse osmosis. A more sophisticated plumbed-in system with a price tag to match, this claims to remove 100 per cent of chlorine residues and pesticides. The problem is that it tends to remove beneficial minerals from water as well, so do be sure to take supplements.

    Distillation. This removes everything, including every last molecule of flavour. Small domestic countertop distillation units are available, but their sales appear to be mostly confined to those with severely compromised immune systems, as most people are put off by distilled water’s lack of taste. More important, the lack of natural minerals could be a health hazard. Heart disease, neurodegenerative diseases and certain types of cancer can result from having too few minerals in drinking water (Kozisek F. Health risks from drinking demineralized water, in Nutrients in Drinking Water. Geneva, Switzerland: World Health Organization, 2004).
    Posted 17 June 2008 11:10 by Birdseye | 271 Comments
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  • Sun-safe: 5 chemical-free ways to protect yourself

    As the June 2008 edition of WDDTY reports, sunscreens are not as safe as you might think.  Here are five ways of protecting yourself against the sun without exposing your body to contaminating chemicals.

    • Avoid prolonged exposure, especially between 11 am and 3 pm, when UV rays are most prevalent.
    • Cover up with clothing instead of creams during the hottest part of the day.
    • Take supplements in the run-up to sun exposure, which can bolster the skin’s natural defences against sunlight:
      • Antioxidants such as selenium, and vitamins C and E can help. In one study, 2 g of vitamin C and 1000 IU of vitamin E daily reduced sunburn, although neither on its own gave any protection against UV radiation, suggesting a synergistic relationship (J Am Acad Dermatol, 1998; 38: 45–8).
      • Carotenoids such as beta-carotene and lycopene have consistently been shown to protect against sunburn. One study found that taking a supplement of natural carotenoids (mostly beta-carotene) in daily amounts of 30 mg, 60 mg and 90 mg gave progressively more protection against UV radiation (Proc Soc Exp Biol Med, 2000; 223: 170–4).
      • Proanthocyanidins (OPCs), a group of flavonoids found in pine bark, grape seeds and other plant sources, have shown promise in warding off the damaging effects of UV light. Supplementing with the OPC-rich French maritime pine bark extract Pycnogenol (1.1–1.66 mg/2.2 lb of body weight/day) significantly increased the amount of UV radiation tolerated before sunburn occurred (Free Radic Biol Med, 2001; 30: 154–60).
    • Eat lots of tomatoes, which contain lycopene and other antioxidants that can help protect the skin. A daily dose of tomato paste, equal to 16 mg/day of lycopene, significantly reduced sunburn symptoms after 10 weeks (Skin Pharmacol Appl Skin Physiol, 2002; 15: 291–6).
    • Choose more natural suncreams. Few contain all-natural ingredients, but a number of formulations are available that are free of toxic chemicals. Visit WDDTY’s sister service, Proof!, for a recent review of some of the popular alternative products on the market.


  • Cough Remedies: 5 reasons to avoid them

    The WDDTY archives are full of evidence suggesting that we should be avoiding conventional cough remedies.  Here are five stories providing reasons why you should be seeking out the alternatives.

    If you want a safe and effective alternative, the Proof! website has a report on The Best Alternative Cough Mixture.



  • Bunions: 5 tips to ease the pain

    There are several things you can do to ease the pain of bunions, before you consider more drastic measures such as surgery.  These five suggestions are taken from the February 2008 issue of What Doctors Don't Tell You.
    • Cushion the bunion and wear roomy shoes
    • Use anti-inflammatory herbs such as chamomile, ginger and Arnica
    • Soak the foot in warm water or apply ice
    • Try ultrasound therapy (J Manip Physiol Ther, 1991; 14: 527–9)
    • Try acupuncture or deep-friction massage.
    Do you have any further suggestions for easing bunion pain?  Please post your comments below.
  • 10 reasons to avoid wheat

    Lynne McTaggart's article on 'Spelt, the new wheat' explores the alternatives for people who are intolerant of modern wheat.  But why are we "growing up allergic to wheat"?  The article lists 10 manipulations suffered by modern wheat, each providing a good reason to avoid it altogether and seek out the alternatives.

    Wheat is interfered with by: 

    • fungicides and insecticides as seeds
    • a plethora of insecticides, herbicides and fungicides such as disulphoton (Di-Syston) while growing
    • plant-growth regulators to speed up germination time and the plant’s strength. Currently, farmers use natural or synthetic hormones such as Cycocel
    • more insecticides in the collection bins
    • ‘protectants’—chlorpyrifos-methyl and pyrethrins—added to grain externally as well as deep inside the grain to protect it against moths and other insects
    • fumigation in the form of methyl bromide, aluminium phosphide and magnesium phosphide during storage and as the grains are being treated
    • overheating, which denatures and often ‘cooks’ the protein
    • high-speed milling processes to remove the germ and bran—the most nutritious parts—to be fed to animals
    • dough conditioners and preservatives, partially hydrogenated vegetable oils and toxic soy flour
    • chemical preservatives to extend shelf life far beyond the few days it would take to naturally spoil.
    The full article is available in the January edition of What Doctors Don't Tell You.
  • 30 non-drug treatments of childhood problems

    Many children suffer adverse reactions when given drugs for problems that can be treated with safer alternatives. But, do consult a qualified practitioner before taking this route.


    • Bacterial and fungal
      • Colloidal silver. Take care not to overdose: 100 mcg/day is safe for a child weighing 20 kg (Curr Probl Dermatol, 2006; 33: 17–34)
      • Tea tree oil. As effective as standard antibiotics for skin infections, including MRSA (J Antimicrob Chemother, 2003; 51: 241–6), although it may cause skin reactions.
    • Colds
      • Echinacea (Lancet Infect Dis, 2007; 7: 473–80) and vitamin C (Cochrane Database Syst Rev, 2007; 3: CD000980)
      • Saltwater nose drops
      • Inhaling steam from water containing Friars Balsam, a 600- year-old herbal remedy.
    • Coughs
      • EPs 7630, a herbal medicine from geranium (Pelargonium sidoides) roots (Phytomedicine, 2007; 14 [Suppl 6]: 69– 73), made by Schwabe Pharmaceuticals, Karlsruhe, Germany;
      • CORSHE-E, an Ayurvedic herbal linctus (J Herb Pharmacother, 2004; 4: 1–12). A similar product is Olbas Cough Syrup.
    • Urinary and bladder
      • Cranberry or blueberry juice (N Engl J Med, 1991; 324: 1599).
    • Diarrhoea
      • Individualized homeopathic medicine (Pediatr Infect Dis J, 2003; 22: 229–34) .
    • Inner ear
      • Naturopathic herbal ear drops containing tea tree oil, garlic and other herbs (Cochrane Database Syst Rev, 2006; 3: CD005657)
      • Individualized homeopathic medicine (Pediatr Infect Dis J, 2001; 20: 177–83)
      • Homeopathic Pulsatilla (J Am Inst Homeop, 1986; 79: 3–4) .
    • Sore throat
      • Throat spray containing 15-per-cent sage ( Salvia officinalis) extract (Eur J Med Res, 2006; 11: 20–6); a similar product is Echinacea Throat Spray, made by A. Vogel, Switzerland
      • Slippery elm, as a pre-drug therapy
      • Do nothing, rather than use drugs like penicillin (BMJ, 2003; 327: 1324–7).


    • Headache
      • Peppermint oil applied to the forehead and temples (Nervenarzt, 1996; 67: 672–81)
      • Acupressure (Digital Dissertation Abstracts, 1990; DAI-B 50/ 12: 5890)
      • Self-hypnosis (Pediatrics, 1987; 79: 593–7)
      • Check for food allergy (J Pediatr, 1989; 114: 51–8)
      • Feverfew may work (Lancet, 1988: ii: 189–92), although a recent survey casts some doubt (Curr Opin Neurol, 2005; 18: 289–92)
      • Homeopathy (although there are no clinical trials).
    • Toothache
      • Oil of cloves
      • Activated charcoal compress
      • Tincture of Plantago major (plantain)
      • Purple passion flower (Passiflora incarnata) for hypersensitive teeth
      • Prickly ash (Zanthoxylum americanum) bark tincture to numb teeth and gums.


      • Remove additives from the child’s diet (Lancet, 2007; epub ahead of print; DOI:10.1016/S0140-6736(07)61306-3)
      • Check for food allergy in general (J Pediatr, 1989; 114: 51–8)
      • Pycnogenol, the extract from the bark of the French maritime pine tree (Eur Child Adolesc Psychiatry, 2006; 15: 329– 35)
      • Omega-3 and -6 supplements (Pediatrics, 2005; 115: 1360-6)


    This list of 30 alternative treatments for childhood problems is taken from 'The kiddy killers' by Tony Edwards, currently included when you claim your free trial issue of WDDTY. Click here to order your copy.
  • Failing Eyesight: 12 things you need to know

    The idea of failing eyesight is terrifying to most people.  Yet this kind of deterioration is often thought of as inevitable among the elderly.  Research uncovered by What Doctors Don't Tell You has uncovered several things you may not know about failing eyesight - what causes it, and how to avoid it.  Here are 13 of our most significant findings.

    1.  Eating more fish can combat failing eyesight.

    2.  Too much processed food can cause failing eyesight.

    3.  Chinese takeaways are particularly damaging to your eyesight.

    4.  Lutein is the best defence against failing eyesight.

    5.  Reducing your fat intake can reduce the risk of deteriorating eyesight.

    6.  IBS drug Spasmonal can affect your eyesight.

    7.  Regular vitamin E intake improves your eyesight in old age.

    8.  Breastfeeding may help your child's eyesight.

    9.  Vigabatrin, the epilepsy drug, can cause serious vision problems.

    10. Bilberries and ginkgo biloba can improve vision.

    11. There are links between accumulated lead exposure and eyesight failure.

    12.  Finally, here are six more important facts about preventing eye problems.

    If you have any other tips to share, or have had significant experiences of your own, please post them below. 

  • Don't get poisoned by your food containers

    BPA (bisphenol A) is a chemical commonly used to line the inside of cans and other food containers.  Several reports (including this one) have indicated that this noxious chemical is leaching into the actual food product, posing a huge risk to consumers.  The November issue of WDDTY has the full story on this, but here are Joanna Evans’ six tips for limiting your exposure to this compound:

    • consume fresh, unprocessed foods and avoid canned foods as much as possible.
    • avoid number 7 plastics.  Polycarbonate plastic food containers marked with a number ‘7’ in the recycling logo usually contain BPA.  In general, these are rigid and transparent plastic containers.  Plastics that are numbered 1, 2 and 4 are safer choices, as they don’t contain BPA.
    • use glass baby-bottles, or those made of the safer polypropylene and polyethylene plastics.  Pliable, cloudy-coloured plastic does not contain BPA.  Medela-brand bottles used to store breast milk are also labelled BPA-free.
    • choose glass rather than plastic water bottles, or get your water from the tap.  Also, avoid metal water bottles as they may be lined with BPA-containing plastic.
    • avoid using plastic containers in the microwave.  Ceramic, glass and other micwowaveable dishware are good alternatives.
    • avoid storing food and drink in plastic containers.  Glass and stainless steel are better, safer choices.

    Do you have any other tips for minimising the health risks of supermarket shopping?  If so, please post them below.

  • MDF Dangers - 7 steps to minimise the risks

    MDF (medium-density fibreboard) is known for its health risks – in 195 the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) classified wood dust as a human carcinogen, and the substantial dust produced by MDF has been connected to other health problems such as asthma.

    For our full story on the health risks of MDF, click here for your free issue of What Doctors Don’t Tell You.

    Here are seven guidelines that you should follow when working with MDF, to minimise the risk to yourself and your household.

    1. Never work on MDF inside the house, but use a carport or open garage instead
    2. Hose the dust down afterwards
    3. If you have a workshop, use an extractor fan very close to where you’re working
    4. Wear a good-quality, well-fitting dust mask; unlike sawdust, MDF dust is extremely fine
    5. Keep others away while you are working
    6. Paint all naked MDF panels to prevent formaldehyde outgassing
    7. After installation inside your home, ventilate for up to three days.  If your house appears to be particularly full of outgassing materials, do a ‘bake-out’: heat it up to a high temperature, usually 38 degrees C (100 degrees F), to speed up the release of toxic chemicals, while keeping the windows open and ventilation system running at full capacity.  Repeat this process for two or three days

    For more information on MDF and your health, click here to claim a free issue of What Doctors Don’t Tell You.
  • The best Echinacea supplement

    Back in June, we reported on scientific evidence showing that Echinacea is the best thing for the common cold.  As well as colds, Echinacea can also be used to combat coughs, bronchitis, upper respiratory tract infections and some inflammatory conditions. 

    But how do we maxmise the impact of Echinacea?  WDDTY's online service, Proof!, makes the following recommendations:

    To obtain maximum benefit, take Echinacea as early as possible (Curr Med Res Opin, 1999; 15: 214-27; J Altern Complement Med, 2000; 6: 327-34). Although not much in the way of therapeutic dosages has yet been established, according to Melvyn Werbach (Botanical Influences on Health, Third Line Press, 1994), the following dosages are recommended three times daily:

    • Dried root (or as tea) 0.5-1 g
    • Freeze-dried plant 325-650 mg
    • Juice of aerial portion of Echinacea purpurea in 22 per cent ethanol 1-2 mL
    • Tincture (1:4) 2-4 mL (1-2 tsp)
    • Fluid extract (1:1) 1-2 mL (0.5-1 tsp)
    • Solid (dry powder) extract (6.5:1 or 3.5 per cent echinacoside) 100-250 mg
    Proof! is an online service that tests alternative and eco products to see which ones give you the best value for your money.  And, to give you an idea of what this service can do for you, we have made our report on 'The best Echinacea supplement' available to sample for free, with no obligations.  Just click here to read this free report.
  • Asthma: drugs are dangerous, useless and unnecessary

    Lynne McTaggart's recent blog post suggests that conventional medicine's approach to asthma is all wrong.  Research findings have made it quite apparent that the steroids usually prescribed for asthma sufferers are likely to do more harm than good (see the Asthma Factsheet for more).  But did you know just how much evidence there is against these asthma drugs?  The WDDTY database reveals a vast range of reports showing that conventional asthma treatments are both useless and dangerous.  What's more, there are plenty of far more effective alternative treatments.  You can browse our complete database of asthma information, or sample this brief overview of our findings, spanning more than 10 years of reporting.

    Asthma drugs are dangerous

    Bronchodilators double death risk in first 12 months
    Asthma drugs cause deaths
    Fenoterol link to asthma deaths
    Asthma drugs: - They are safe, really, aren't they?

    Asthma drugs can affect immunity

    Asthma drugs are useless

    Steroid asthma treatment may be wrong
    Regular use of asthma drugs reduces their effect
    Asthma drugs: no help for kids
    Steroids don't help asthmatic schoolchildren

    You can treat asthma without drugs

    11 alternative treatments for asthma
    Asthma treatment without drugs
    Fish oils fight asthma
    Buteyko really can help asthma
    Mineral salt improves breathing in asthmatics


    For all the necessary information on asthma drugs and alternative ways of treating the condition, download the WDDTY Asthma Factsheet

  • 11 alternative treatments for asthma

    Conventional treatments for asthma are not only inadequate, they are also dangerous (see the WDDTY Asthma Factsheet for more).  Here are 11 safer ways of treating the symptoms and causes of asthma.


    Scientific evidence suggests that asthma is linked to reduced circulatory levels of the antioxidant mineral selenium.

    Vitamin B6

    Vitamin B6 deficiency is common in asthmatics. This deficiency may be related to the asthma itself or to certain anti-asthma drugs (such as theophylline and aminophylline) that deplete vitamin B6.

    Vitamin B12

    Supplementing with B12 (particularly through intramuscular shots) markedly reduces asthma symptoms. In one study of 85 patients, all benefited from 1000 mcg injections of B12 at weekly (and then less frequent) intervals—and the younger the patient, the better the response. Among children under 10, 83 per cent showed a moderate-to-marked improvement. Some physicians have their patients self-administer daily shots in the following doses over 10 days: 1000 mcg for two- to three-year-olds; 2000 mcg for three- to 12-year-olds; and 3000 mcg for teenagers and older.


    Several studies have shown that improvement in wheezing is related to blood magnesium levels. Magnesium may be a safe alternative to bronchodilators when children are suffering a severe asthma attack. Like vitamin B6, magnesium has marked success when delivered by injection.

    Vitamin C

    Taking 1 g/day of vitamin C reduces the tendency of the bronchial passages to go into spasm, a benefit that has been confirmed in double-blind research trials. Beneficial effects with short-term vitamin C supplementation (less than three days) have also been observed.

    Vitamin E

    Supplementing with vitamin E can help lower rates of asthma, rhinitis and hayfever. Stduiies have found that people those with the highest daily intake of vitamin E were least likely to suffer from allergen-sensitive atopic conditions such as asthma, rhinitis and hayfever. In addition, none of the other nutrients measured appeared to have the same protective effects as vitamin E, nor did the vitamin appear to be more effective in combination with any other nutrient.

    Fish oil

    Double-blind studies show that fish oil partially reduces reactions to allergens that can trigger attacks in some asthmatics.

    Essential fatty acids

    EFAs and their byproducts have been shown to play a significant role in asthma. Higher intake of ‘good’ fats, such as flaxseed oil, can have anti-inflammatory, free radical-fighting and immune-enhancing effects as well as contribute to the relative strength of cell membranes. Studies are encouraging and may be useful for sufferers of exercise-induced asthma.

    Perilla seed oil

    Supplementing with perilla seed oil may help to improve lung function in certain asthma sufferers. Perilla seed oil is an extract of the Asian beefsteak plant (also known as Chinese basil or wild sesame). It is high in omega-3 fatty acids, particularly alpha-linolenic acid (LNA), and it is this that is thought to inhibit the generation of leukotrienes in asthma sufferers.

    Evening primrose oil

    Swiss researchers have found that evening primrose oil can have a beneficial effect on bronchial asthma.

    Green-lipped mussels

    Supplementation with an extract of New Zealand green-lipped mussels (Perna canaliculus) can relieve symptoms and improve lung function in people with asthma.) While mussel extract is rich in omega-3 (EPA and DHA) fatty acids, the researchers suggest that eicosatetraenoic acid (ETA), found naturally in the green-lipped mussel, is responsible for its positive effects in asthma sufferers, as ETA is thought to be a more potent anti-inflammatory than either EPA or DHA, found in cod liver oil and other fish-oil supplements.

    You can find a range of safer treatments for asthma at the WDDTY Health Shop.

    For a comprehensive guide to the dangers of conventional asthma treatments, click here to download the Asthma Factsheet.
  • Health through happiness: how living positively makes you more healthy

    Of the 100 ways to live to 100, a large number focus on maintaining a positive mental state by avoiding conflict, living conscientiously and forgiving people easily.  Further to this, several studies suggest that those with a positive attitude to life are generally more healthy than those who adopt a pessimistic approach.

    Research has shown that not only can optimism increase your life expectancy, but also pessimism can lower it:

    • Healthy optimism:  In one study, those who scored high on optimism in personality tests in the 1960s were far more likely to be alive 40 years later than those who were classed as pessimists.
    • Unhealthy pessimism:  Another study found that those who respond negatively to adverse events, either by blaming themselves or by allowing the events to affect many aspects of their lives, had a 19% higher risk of death than optimists.

    How to live positively

    For those who do not naturally think on the positive side, the following suggestions, taken from the September 2007 issue of What Doctors Don’t Tell You, will help to develop a healthy, optimistic approach to life:

    • Keep a journal and jot down any negative thoughts you have.  Try to replace them with more positive feelings.
    • Give yourself due credit when something positive happens in your life.  Think of all the ways you contributed, both directly and indirectly, to make the event occur.
    • Don’t beat yourself up when something negative happens.  Think of the external factors that could have contributed to the event, and remember that every failure can be a helpful learning experience.

  • Cancer: 18 new discoveries

    As Sue Insole's cancer diary shows, cancer can have a devastating effect, not just on the victim, but also on his or her family.  WDDTY is committed to bringing to light the latest news about conditions such as cancer, and discussing scientifically proven methods of treating and preventing them.  Here are 18 news stories from 2007 containing the most recent findings about the condition.  Although some of the revelations are hardly new or surprising, we have uncovered the latest research.

    1. Mobile phones could cause a major cancer explosion in coming years.
    2. Standard deodorants and anti-perspirants may cause breast cancer.
    3. If you’ve had colon cancer, returning to a Western diet is likely to make it come back.
    4. Biopsies may be responsible for the rise in breast cancer in the over-50s.
    5. Black raspberry gel can help fight oral cancer.
    6. Mammograms detect only half of all early-stage breast cancers.
    7. Genes do not affect your chances of surviving breast cancer.
    8. CT scans dramatically increase the risk of cancer.
    9. A good diet could halve your risk of developing breast cancer.
    10. Dry cleaning chemicals can cause cancer.
    11. Plenty of sunshine (Vitamin D) helps ward off cancer.
    12. A healthy diet can beat prostate cancer, even for those with a genetic predisposition.
    13. Having someone to talk to can decrease your risk of dying from cancer by 60%.
    14. Despite some doctors’ suggestions, you cannot ‘catch’ cancer from a blood transfusion.
    15. Exercise protects against cancer, and helps you when you have it.
    16. Calls for a compulsory vaccine programme for cervical cancer were funded – unsurprisingly – by the vaccine’s manufacturer, Sanofi Pasteur.
    17. Housework is a great way to prevent breast cancer.
    18. Since the number of women taking HRT decreased dramatically, so did the rate of new breast cancer cases.

    Have you read of any other significant research findings about cancer this year?  If so, please post your comments below.

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