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September/October 2005

A monthly newsletter dedicated to serving the principles of physical and spiritual health envisioned in the Baha'i Teachings.

Volume 9, Issue Nos. 7 & 8
- Quote of the month
- From the Editor
- This Month's Theme: The Importance of Lifelong Learning
- Links for further information
- Things about Life I Learned from a Jigsaw Puzzle
- Exploring the Principles of "Health Eternal"
- Book Reviews: "We Learned to Listen"
- Health in the News
- Truth in Humor Corner
- Letters
- Question of the Month
- Purpose of the Newsletter
- Subscription Information
- Web Site


November: Dealing with Loss
December: Living, and Healing, with Chronic or Catastrophic Illness
January: The Healing Powers of Pets
February: Music - Sustenance for the Soul
March: The Importance of Celebrations
April: Feed the Creative to Heal the Body and Mind
May: Nurture the Spirit for Better Health


"Education must be considered as most important, for as diseases in the world of bodies are extremely contagious, so, in the same way, qualities of spirit and heart are extremely contagious. Education has a universal influence, and the differences caused by it are very great."

('Abdu'l-Baha, "Some Answered Questions," p. 214)


Dear Readers,

Due to some unforeseen obstacles presented by the hurricane season, it was not possible to send out September's issue. Accordingly, some parts of both issues have been combined, resulting in this slightly longer newsletter.

During the summer break, your editor has done a bit more than take a vacation. In fact, so much happened that it doesn't feel like much of a break! Due to family and personal health issues, physical activity was limited, but there was plenty of time to read and surf the 'Net.

It was also a time to evaluate progress and set some new goals for the newsletter. You will note in the next few months some format and thematic changes.

There was time to look further into means to use the Internet in some more interactive ways. Potentially, some exciting new collaborative tools will soon be a part of the Healing Through Unity Newsletter.

Meanwhile, Healing Through Unity will continue as a text only document, circulated in the body of an e-mail message, because that is what most people prefer. However, it will soon be available for download from the web site in either PDF or Word format.

Further, the upcoming themes will be published several months in advance, because it can take a while before busy people have time to read all the way through the newsletter AND formulate ideas to send in.

We have so much to share with one another, and to be healthy we need a little help from our friends! I look forward to the next nine months with anticipation and gratitude.

Cheryll Schuette, Michigan, USA

**************************************** **************

Lately, in the United States at least, the news media have spent much time on the disagreement of Science and Religion, notably over a few highly politicized issues, but in some arenas these two disciplines have been drawing nearer to each other.

Since the beginning of Rationalism and the Industrial Revolution, study of health and healing has been pursued in rather mechanical ways. The older emphasis on emotional and spiritual cleansing and healing were discounted and discarded, at least as far as research funding was concerned.

Science and medical research have become interested again in the mind body connection and begun to spend time and money investigating it. The following excerpts are from a 30 page paper, titled, 'Facts of Life: Issue Briefings for Health Reporters, Vol. 7, No. 12,' published by the Center for the Advancement of Health.

"Education has been shown to be a powerful and unique predictor of health outcomes - lower levels of education are associated with poor health and higher levels of education are associated with better health. Questions remain, however, about which aspects of education may relate to health, the pathways or mechanisms through which education would exert an effect on specific health outcomes, and whether there may be other characteristics or factors that affect both educational attainment and health outcomes."

Here is what is known, so far:

"* Mortality rates overall and for specific diseases (including heart disease and cancer) are higher in the United States for individuals with lower educational or income status. Exceptions to this include death rates for breast cancer and external causes in women.

"* In 1995, the death rate from chronic diseases for men with less than 12 years of education was 2.5 times the rate for more educated men. Women were slightly more than twice as likely to die if they had less than 12 years of education.

"* The number of people who smoked cigarettes, the leading cause of preventable disease and death in the United States, declined substantially between 1974 and 1995, but the rates of decline differed significantly for people with different levels of education. By 1995, people who had not completed high school were more than twice as likely to smoke as those with at least a college degree.

"* Diabetes, hypertension and heart disease are more common in individuals with lower levels of education. The prevalence of these diseases varies also by income, race and gender.

"* The rates at which excess body weight and obesity have increased differ by level of educational attainment and gender. In general, however, individuals with lower levels of education are more likely to be overweight or obese than better-educated individuals.

"* Data from 2001 indicate that among adults ages 25-44 with less than a high school education, the death rate (per 100,000 people) from motor vehicle crashes was 27.3; for high school graduates, the rate was 20.7, and for those with at least some college, the rate was 8.7.

"* In 1995, low birth weight and infant mortality were more common among children born to less-educated mothers. Relationships between maternal education and child health outcomes vary somewhat by racial and ethnic group.

"* Mothers with less than 12 years of education are less likely to have received care in the first trimester of pregnancy than mothers with 16 or more years of education. Also, women with less than a high school diploma are almost 10 times more likely to smoke during pregnancy.

"* In other countries around the world - both developed and developing - a strong positive relationship exists between education and health: Better health is associated with higher levels of education, regardless of whether health is measured using morbidity and mortality rates or self-reports of health status.

"There are many factors that have led to more research in the United States on the role socioeconomic status (SES) plays in health. Many researchers were intrigued and challenged by the findings from the Whitehall Study of British civil servants begun by Michael Marmot and colleagues in the 1980s.

"This study indicated that health improved with increasing civil service status all the way to the highest occupational levels. This flew in the face of assumptions that effects of socioeconomic status on health were due solely to the adversities of poverty.

"The study also made it clear that it was not possible to explain the relationship between civil service status (an indicator of socioeconomic
status) through biology alone. The study prompted a lot of research on psychological and social influences on health and illness.

"Dr. Len Syme, emeritus professor of epidemiology at the University of California, Berkeley, [was] asked him what he would want to know if he had to predict a person's health status.

"His response was that he would need just one piece of information: The most powerful predictor of health status was SES, so this is what he would want to know.

"One critical step was to find out whether the relationship between SES and health shown in the Whitehall studies existed in the United States also. We found that enough studies had been conducted looking at SES and health in the United States to demonstrate that socioeconomic status predicted health at all levels.

"... with health behaviors, which include behaviors such as smoking, physical inactivity and a variety of other behaviors that affect health...
The frequency of almost every health behavior differs by level of education.
For example, the decline in smoking has been much steeper for college-educated individuals than for people with less education. As a result, we are beginning to see a relationship between education and lung cancer rates, with increases for individuals with less education."

The paper makes some tentative conclusions, more as directions for study than as cause and effect relationships.

"Education may make it possible to avoid stress and cope with stress better when it happens. In terms of environmental exposures, individuals with less education are more likely to have more hazardous jobs and, because they have less money, to live in areas where they are exposed to toxins (such as emissions from factories or freeways) and pathogens (disease-causing organisms). The focus in the environmental justice movement has been on unequal environmental exposure for poor and minority communities, but education plays a role in occupation and therefore in income.

"Education may cause changes in intellectual flexibility, leading to better skills in using and evaluating information. In a highly technical health and health care environment, this could mean that increasing the average level of education would also lead to improved population health.

"Education may also act as a kind of super-resource - an avenue to achieve what is good and avoid what is bad in any particular social context. For instance, education leads to credentials and skills that provide access to prestige, jobs and money. On the negative side, disease may not be as avoidable among people who have lower levels of education. Education can also be viewed as a flexible resource.

"One area of research that holds promise is examining the relationships among education, stress and health. Chronic stress has been shown to have a negative effect on health. Recent research suggests that education may have a protective effect among adults who have a child being treated for pediatric cancer. Researchers found that parents with higher levels of education were less likely to experience the types of changes in immune functioning experienced by parents with lower levels of education."

From a Religious perspective, it makes sense that certain types of education can indeed, affect health. Religious teachings emphasize the importance of self-knowledge, as well as spiritual understanding, as a pathway to happiness and health. Moral education and faithful commitment to ethical standards can result in changed behaviors (for instance, abstinence from mind altering drugs) which will improve both individual and societal health.

According to 'Abdu'l-Baha, "Personality is obtained through the conscious effort of man by training and education. A fruitless tree under the influence of a wise gardener becomes fruitful; a slab of marble under the hand of a sculptor becomes a beautiful statue. The ruined places are built up by captains of industry; the ignorant children learn the secrets of phenomena under the tutelage of a wise teacher. The crooked branch becomes straight through cultivation."

(Divine Philosophy, p. 132)

"One wing is not enough. Every religion which does not concern itself with Science is mere tradition, and that is not the essential. Therefore science, education and civilization are most important necessities for the full religious life."

('Abdu'l-Baha in London, p. 28)

Further, both Science and Religion agree that simply 'knowing' is not enough. The individual must make efforts to use that knowledge, as well as pursue it:

"Knowledge is the first step; resolve, the second step; action, its fulfillment, is the third step."

(Abdu'l-Baha, Abdu'l-Baha in London, p. 54)

So it looks like Science is catching up in awareness of the importance of both lifelong education, and how critical individual commitment and action are to healing and health. Some leaders of scientific thought are even going so far as to assert that a spiritual life may be a necessary component for such commitment and action to take place.


* To read the Facts of Life paper in its entirety, go to the web site of The Center for the Advancement of Health, an independent nonprofit organization that promotes greater recognition of how psychological, social, behavioral, economic and environmental factors influence health and illness. The fundamental aim of the Center is to translate into policy and practice the growing body of evidence that can lead to the improvement and maintenance of the health of individuals and the public.

* For information about the Whitehall Study:

* To explore further what the Baha'i Writings have to say about the importance of education, as well as the importance of individual commitment to healthy attitudes on behaviors: and


¡Esto me llegó de un buen amigo, véanlo pues es muy interesante! Got this from a good friend, thought it would be very interesting. -- Cris, Peru

1. Don't force a fit. If something is meant to be, it will come together naturally.

2. When things aren't going so well, take a break. Everything will look different when you return.

3. Be sure to look at the big picture. Getting hung up on the little pieces only leads to frustration.

4. Perseverance pays off. Every important puzzle went together bit by bit, piece by piece.

5. When one spot stops working, move to another. But be sure to come back later (see #4).

6. The creator of the puzzle gave you a picture as a guidebook.

7. Variety is the spice of life. It's the different colors and patterns that make the puzzle interesting.

8. Working together with friends and family makes any task fun.

9. Establish the border first. Boundaries give a sense of security and order.

10. Don't be afraid to try different combinations. Some matches are surprising.

11. Take time often to celebrate your successes (even little ones).

12. Anything worth doing takes time and effort. A great puzzle can't be rushed.


The marvelous medical innovations and discoveries of the 21st century are accelerating at an unprecedented pace. Yet, it is important not to forget the 19th century's pioneer discoveries, when medicine was first establishing itself on a scientific basis.

In this golden era, when the divine revelation of Baha'u'llah was dawning, an upsurge of spiritual power was released as its rays "moved like lightning from East to West." During that century, immense progress was made in the arts and sciences and in social reforms.

"In every age and cycle He hath, through the splendourous light shed by the Manifestations of His wondrous essence, recreated all things, so that whatsoever reflecteth in the heavens or on the earth the signs of His Glory, may not be deprived of the outpourings of His Mercy nor despair of the showers of His favors."
("Gleanings," Baha'u'llah, p. 61).

In that century, America witnessed, in the world of letters, the emergence of brilliant minds, such as Emerson, Whitman, Dickinson and Thoreau. In the sciences, many medical doctors and health educators, like Jennings, Kellogg and Page arose to shed new light on the art of healing and health.
Unfortunately, their discoveries about the fundamentals of healing through natural means and proper nutrition were overtaken in the next century by the reliance on medical technology and prescription drugs.

Now, the 21st century is beginning to validate the wisdom of these so-called, alternative concepts.

In "Health Eternal" (Baha'i Publishing Trust, Malaysia) written by nutritionist Dr. Evelyn Pritchard, these pioneer 19th-and-early-20th-century physicians and researchers and their counsel on nutrition, physiology, mind-body connections and hygiene, is re-examined in the light of the Baha'i teachings.

Citing hundreds of sources, Pritchard aptly demonstrates how individual responsibility, proper nutrition, service to humanity, keeping in harmony with nature and maintaining a positive spiritual outlook, all help to create health.

One notable physician of the 1800s, she cites, was Dr. William Alcott, president of the American Vegetarian Society and author of over 100 health books. He the uncle mentioned in Louisa May Alcott's story, "Little Women."

"His book, 'The Vegetable Diet,' is a classic in the field of health literature," Pritchard writes. [He] "advocated the living of a simple life that was in harmony with our environment. Our goals should be to live not for ourselves but for others."

Dr. Alcott believed that "the killing of animals was cruel and deadened our moral sensibilities," she writes. On the benefits of a vegetarian diet, Alcott wrote: "...there is nothing better for the brain than a temperate diet of well-selected vegetables."

Her book, however, moves beyond a mere history lesson. In later chapters, she demonstrates how the preservation of health is based on simple ideas that can be applied today, such as eating simple, whole foods, avoiding habit-forming substances like tobacco and alcohol, maintaining the body's proper pH and strengthening the immune system.

Each chapter is supported with relevant quotes from the Baha'i writings that support the benefits of rehabilitation, fasting and living a purposeful, spiritually based life.

In her chapter, "Science and Religion," she discusses negative emotions.

"The use of negative emotions such as hate, envy, suspicion and fear are destructive, spiritually, emotionally and physically... John Diamond, a nutritional counselor ... asserts that: 'benevolent love, faith, trust, courage and gratitude -- these positive feelings -- are the deepest and most beautiful emotions there are.' He warns that destructive thoughts can deplete our vital force whereas positive, loving and nurturing thoughts can increase it.... Diamond further states: 'Now, I'm not suggesting that we suppress our negative thoughts; rather, that we turn them into positive ones.... It is a matter of changing our attitudes. We are doing this for our own benefit as well as for others.'

"Diamond warns us that talking about negative matters can create debilitation and decrease the vital force of our thymus gland..." Pritchard notes. In the same vein, she cites Dr. Henry A. Weil, author of "Closer Than Your Life Vein."

"He admonishes us to be 'gentle instead of less harsh, fair instead of less-prejudiced, loving instead of less hateful, honest instead of dishonest, patient instead of less angry.' " Then, she cites the words of

"Hear no evil, and see no evil, abase not thyself, neither sigh and weep.
Speak no evil, that thou mayest not hear it spoken unto thee, and magnify not the faults of others that thine own faults may not appear great; and wish not the abasement of anyone, that thine own abasement be not exposed.
Live then the days of thy life, that are less than a fleeting moment, with thy mind stainless, thy heart unsullied, thy thoughts pure, and thy nature sanctified, so that free and content, thou mayest put away this mortal frame and repair unto the mystic paradise and abide in the eternal kingdom for evermore."

("The Hidden Words," Persian, number 44)

"Health Eternal" discloses the 19th-century concepts that foreshadowed a new level of healing to humanity. It sheds a unique light on time-tested principles of health. Her chapters echo the sage advice of Hippocrates who espoused that the expenditure of 95 percent of all our resources should be used toward prevention and only 5 percent toward chronic treatment.

Today, integrative medicine -- the combining of mainstream and alternative/complementary medicine -- is emerging into medical practices worldwide. By helping us understand the transition phase of this integrative shift from both a scientific and spiritual perspective, Pritchard provides exhaustless insights into well-being.

For more information about "Health Eternal":


'WE LEARNED TO LISTEN'... edited by Warren Estabrooks, M.Ed., Dip.Ed., Cert.
AVT(R), Director of the Auditory Learning Centre at the Learning to Listen Foundation, North York General Hospital, in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

Nine authors share their stories of growing up hearing impaired, and Frances Mezei, Healing Through Unity Newsletter's founding editor, is one of them!

"I also shared my experience with the cochlear implant which I received 2 years ago. The newsletter [and] a few Baha'i quotes and other references to the Faith are included in my story," she says.

"Many people assume that a diagnosis of deafness signals a life of silence and sign language. 'We Learned to Listen,' a new book of personal stories published by the Alexander Graham Bell Association for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (AG Bell), follows the journeys of nine individuals who are deaf as they strive to become part of a “hearing” world. 'We Learned to Listen'
explores their triumphs and struggles as they learn to listen, talk and achieve success along with their hearing peers."

“'We Learned to Listen' highlights the important role parents and professionals in the field of deafness play in helping children who are deaf or hard of hearing learn language,” said K. Todd Houston, Ph.D., Executive Director/CEO of AG Bell. “Today, children with hearing loss identified at birth, fitted with hearing aids or cochlear implants, and enrolled in an early intervention program can develop language skills comparable to their hearing peers by age five.”
The Alexander Graham Bell Association for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing is a lifelong resource, support network, and advocate for listening, learning, talking, and living independently with hearing loss. Through publications, outreach, training, scholarships, and financial aid, AG Bell promotes the use of spoken language and hearing technology. For more information, contact AG Bell at (202) 337- 5220 or visit the AG Bell website at

- Proof that Ice Cream Therapy Really Works!

David Adam, science correspondent for the British newspaper, The Guardian, reports in the April that, "Eating ice cream really does make you happy.
Scientists have found that a spoonful of the cold stuff lights up the same pleasure centre in the brain as winning money or listening to your favourite music."

Neuroscientists at the Institute of Psychiatry in London scanned the brains of people eating vanilla ice cream. They found an immediate effect on parts of the brain known to activate when people enjoy themselves; these include the orbitofrontal cortex, the "processing" area at the front of the brain."

The research was carried out by Unilever, using ice cream made by a company it owns, so naturally they are publishing this latest information far and wide. [One assumes one's own favorite ice cream brand could work as well... -Ed]

Those of us who are parents have known about ice cream therapy for years, having found it to be a very effective pain killer for scraped knees, as well as stress relief for ourselves!

- Proof that Placebos Have a Real, Not Imagined, Effect

At least when it comes to pain reduction. The August 27, 2005 issue of New Scientist Magazine comments on the work of Jon-Kar Zubieta's team of researchers at the University of Michigan, which has confirmed that placebos relieve pain by boosting the release of endorphins.

Placebos, which are substances with no active ingredient, often work to reduce pain when people are told that they contain an active painkiller.
This effect has been considered psychological, but now researchers are closing in on possible physical pathways.

So, perhaps we really are what we think we are...but it isn't all in our minds!

To read the New Scientist commentary: p. 12, 27 August 2005. To read Zubieta's formal publication in full, see The Journal of Neuroscience, Vol 25, p. 7754.


The History of Medication:

2000 B.C. - Here, eat this root.

1000 A.D. - That root is heathen. Here, say this prayer.

1850 A.D. - That prayer is superstition. Here, drink this potion.

1940 A.D. - That potion is snake oil. Here, swallow this pill.

1980 A.D. - That pill is ineffective. Here, take this antibiotic.

2005 A.D. - That antibiotic is unhealthy. Here, eat this root.

(From Suzanne in Malawi)


- Glyconutrients -

I read the article on glyconutrients in the October 2004 issue. Yet another new wonder-system that costs hundreds of dollars - I've checked the web sites given.

However, it is hard to find articles or information about glyconutrients in any of the established nutrition magazines so there are many questions to be asked before buying glyconutrients as endorsed by Dr. Iain Macrobert in your article.

I feel uneasy about the claims made for glyconutrients after talking with a few skeptical naturopaths so I recommend much research and many questions before contacting one of the distributors. (You can't buy these nutrients in health-stores in my district.)

By the way, the basic ingredients of glyconutrients are: Aloe vera, Astagalus, Kelp and Reishi mushroom. Cheaper to buy, by far, than glyconutrients.

In the November edition of 'Healing Through Unity' (I think) one letter cited the web site of a Dr. Bird who gives recipes for making one's own glyconutrients. I have been in contact with Dr. Bird who is currently updating his web site but his original article is well worth researching because it can save readers a lot of money rather than buying the grossly expensive Manatech products. I commend it to your readers:*/

Give it a go and save yourself a lot of money.

-- RB, Australia

[Editor's Note: In the Dec. 2004 issue, an in-depth, follow-up article
"Glyconutrients: Hype or Hope" was written by contributing editor Lynn Ascrizzi, in response to readers' questions, such as yours. You may want to check it out on the web site.]

- An Idea for keeping children's school papers organized

[A] lot of you have children going back to school, I thought I would pass on my wonderful find---if I do say so myself...

Four years ago, I had come up with a binder method to hold school papers---well it was working fine when I only had ONE in school, but now that I have THREE in just isn't cutting it!! Too time-consuming to punch holes, etc. etc.

Sooooo---my new solution this year has been to get three of those plastic letter accordion holders---they come with a handle & in different colors.
Each child picked their color, we put their name on the top & we used the monthly tab inserts that came with the holders & inserted them into the tabs. Started with Aug since mine went back to school a couple of weeks ago.

Now when they bring home papers that don't have to be sent back to school, we put them in their holder behind the appropriate month. I use the very front slot that doesn't have a tab for the "General" Papers---the intro letter from the teacher, etc.

I plan to have them each go through their holders at the end of the month & help them choose what are keepers & what we can get rid of. With my daughters... EVERYTHING is a keeper to them, so I will have to wait a couple of months & let them go through the holder again & purge.

This has worked out sooooo great & takes up such a small amount of space.
It's wonderful not to have school papers all over the house & they will have all of their "memorable" work for the year in one convenient place.

-- Kelli, Tennessee, USA

- Free Health Care Transitions workbooks

We recently completed work on a booklet for youth and families entitled Envisioning My Future: A Young Person's Guide to Health Care Transition.

We also developed a set of three health care transition workbooks for youth & families; and tailored the workbooks for use by those served through CMS - Florida Children's Medical Services Program. The workbooks (for ages 12-14; 15-17; and 18+) are designed to help families and youth think about future goals, to identify things that the young person is doing currently to be independent in health care; and help figure out what needs to be done to assure that the young person's future transition from pediatric to adult-oriented health care goes smoothly.

While these workbooks can be done independently, by a young person and family, I think that it would be best if families, youth and providers worked together to identify current strengths and needs; identify priorities; and develop and implement a plan for addressing current and future needs.

These materials are available on our health care transitions web site.
Any comments you might have on these materials are most appreciated.

To access these materials, go to:

John Reiss, Ph.D.
Associate Professor, Department of Pediatrics Chief, Div Policy & Program Affairs Institute for Child Health Policy PO Box 100147, University of Florida Gainesville, Florida 32608


How do I help grown children leave home?

I have two adult children, ages from 20 and 29, neither of whom is showing the least inclination either to move out on his own or to take up residency as a responsible adult. How can I encourage them to grow more independent and stop expecting me to pay all their bills and house and feed them, not to mention funding 'family' vacations?

They do have part time jobs and are in college, but they don't pay rent or help keep up the house or yard.

Obviously, I didn't teach them something they needed as small children, but that is water down the river. Right now, I could use some advice on ways to break them out of helpless behaviors, and encourage them to be confident of themselves.

On the other hand, I'm worried about the mistakes they will make if I just kick them out, and the fact that the world is a scarier place than it was when I left home to go to college. I don't want them to be hurt, but there has to be a limit to how long I need to protect them.

Thanks for any advice!

-- LS, Indiana, USA


"Healing Through Unity" is published for the purpose of sharing thoughts, comments and experiences on how the teachings of the Baha'i Faith are being applied to physical and spiritual health. Other than the quoted Holy Writings, the material in this newsletter represents the thoughts and opinions of the writers and has no authority. None of the material published in this newsletter is intended to be a substitute for the advice of a physician.

You are free to copy articles, provided you indicate the source of the article. There are 10 issues per year; it is not published during July and August. The newsletter is produced in Ann Arbor, Michigan.


Distribution of this newsletter is free by email. Please email requests for all new subscriptions, subscription cancellations and email address changes (please include old address along with new one) to


You can visit our Web site, obtain back issues and the Healing Through Unity Course at:


All of us have had healing experiences, as well as climbed out of low points along life's way - physical, emotional, psychological and spiritual. Please share your stories, tips, useful links, and quotes from the Baha'i Writings about staying healthy in a stressful world. Your articles do not have to be long - even a few paragraphs in length is fine. Baha'u'llah gave us each other as a big part of a healthy lifestyle, and sharing stories and ideas that work for you brings encouragement to others. Asking for information and support from others can bring encouragement to you!


Many thanks to all of you who share helpful ideas for the Healing Through Unity Newsletter. The decision to select and edit material submitted for publication is determined by the editor. We welcome submissions from everyone.

Please e-mail your stories, comments, suggestions or "Question for the Month" ideas to the newsletter editor, Cheryll Schuette, at:


Editor - Cheryll Schuette
Contributing Editor - Lynn Ascrizzi
Founding Editor - Frances Mezei
Medical Reviewer - Dr. Diane Kent
Circulation Assistant - Kathy Yonash
Web Master - Russ Novak

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