What Is the Best Position for Sleep?

By Dr. Peter Martone

My name is Dr. Peter Martone. I am a chiropractor and an exercise physiologist. This is my “sleep story.” When I think back to my earliest memories when I was a child, I can still remember wanting to sleep on my side, which faced the crucifix on the wall in my room. I felt secure and protected and every morning I would end up at the end of my bed or even on the floor. I never stayed in one position. 

As years passed I continued to be a side sleeper because that is what people do. It is how my doctors told me to sleep; I saw commercials depicting people sleeping on their sides; and my parents even bought me a side sleeper pillow. So, there I was a side sleeper and a non-thinker. I just did what other people told me to do because that is what we do. I was a side sleeper until I started having pain. Then I started thinking about the cause — and my life changed.

I can still remember the day I started to think. It changed everything. Before I begin, I want to make this point clear: Thinking never happens all at once. To change your paradigm (way of thinking) it takes multiple events to happen that bring your awareness to a specific topic — just like reading this article might get you to become more aware of your sleeping position.

Although my hope is that you just take my advice blindly, I understand my goal is to get you to start questioning that status quo. Like I tell my patients: “Free your mind and your health will follow.”

The Day I Began to Think

I was watching the movie “Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon” in 2000 and the two actors came out of the room after “cuddling” all night. The camera gave a quick glimpse of the room they came out of. It showed what the two actors slept on, and to my amazement it was just a thin pad for their body and a block of wood in lieu of a pillow for their head (we will get back to this later). I can remember thinking, “Ouch, that would be so uncomfortable, but then again the movie was set back in the 19th century — that is all they had.”

One of my passions is body biomechanics, or how the body moves and functions. I took a lot of pride in being a pain-free person until one day I had a little too much alcohol to drink at a party and fell asleep in my bed watching TV on my side. To make a long story short, I could not move my arm when I woke up.

I slept on my arm, instigating a frozen shoulder (sprain of the shoulder) just by sleeping on it the wrong way. It was one of the worst pains I had ever experienced. The pain traveled all the way into my neck. I then started to think about the times I would wake up in the morning over the years and either have shoulder pain or neck pain.

Was it the drinking? Was it the sleeping position? Or was it the pillow? Now I was getting close. I was starting to question something that I had taken for granted for years, namely my sleeping position.

How Your Bed and Pillow Affect Your Body Mechanics

Let’s take the two lessons I learned from that movie scene and my episodes of falling asleep in the wrong position and put them together. Beds are made to be more and more comfortable and absorb your body’s weight to decrease pressure points. They support you as you sleep on your side, but what about back in the 19th century? There would be no way you could sleep on your side with just a block of wood and a towel.  

You would be tossing and turning all night long because your body weight would be distributed over a small surface area causing pressure points. The only way you would be able to sleep is on your back, which distributes your weight over the greatest surface area — which is how the actors slept in the movie.

Try lying on your side and watching a two-hour movie. You would not be able to do it without turning (trust me; I tried it). You can only stay on your side for a short time until something either goes numb or gets uncomfortable.

And this is one of the reasons why you toss and turn all night long. The area of the brain that senses pain and the area of the brain that controls sleep are very close. When your body is in pain it wakes up, or the body moves you out of that position (tossing and turning). That reflex is suppressed when you have drugs like alcohol, sleeping pills, pain meds or are extremely tired. So, what happens is that you stay in your abnormal body position (side or stomach sleeping) for prolonged periods of time and pull muscles or sprain ligaments.

Now that is just one night’s effect. Let’s talk about my main reason for writing this article. It is what you do on a regular basis that defines your health and well-being. Remember, your body adapts to your daily lifestyle habits. What you do every day is what defines your current state of health. Years and years of side sleeping and stomach sleeping cause damage to your spine that your body internalizes. 

Structure Affects Function

As a chiropractor, I believe your structure directly effects your function. The structure of your spine effects the way your nervous system functions and, ultimately, your health and well-being. This concept is a lot more than people can handle, so I will keep it basic for the scope of this article. I will talk about biomechanics and about an epidemic that thousands of patients have in common, from 10-year-olds to 90-year-olds. It is the epidemic of spinal degeneration, or what the medical profession calls arthritis.

I started to ask the question “Why do so many patients have spinal degeneration which leads to back and neck pain and ultimately health related conditions?” I started to look at patterns and apply a law to my thinking called the Davis Law,” which states that tissue remolds itself according to imposed demands.

Maintaining proper curves of your spine is critically important in helping your body distribute stress when you walk or move. Another way to think about it is that the shape of your spine works like a big spring and acts like a shock absorber. When you lose the curves of your spine, you cause stress points within the spine, and as Davis Law states you will cause scar tissue to develop in those areas of the spine where you lose the curves. This restriction of motion in the joint leads to degeneration (arthritis) in that area.

As a culture, we are spending more and more time on computers, driving or texting on our phones. All of these positions are done in a forward head posture (head forward position). I find that the average person can spend up to eight hours a day in forward head position posture. This must be offset if you want to maintain a natural curve in your cervical spine.

The Importance of Sleep Posture

The only other time you are in one position for another eight hours is at night when you are sleeping. It is important to offset your forward head position posture of your workweek and daily texting habits. Sleep is when your body heals and grows. Sleep is an opportunity for your body to offset or externalize the stressor that you have exposed it to throughout the day.

The only way to do this is to sleep on your back with a pillow under your neck. I repeat: under your NECK (not your HEAD), supporting your cervical spine. We are in the final product design of a pillow what will help you lie on your back and stay on your back. It is important to support your neck and not your head. Supporting your head or using the wrong pillow in the wrong position will reinforce an abnormal curve. Please watch my video at the top to see how to properly use your pillow.

When I talk to patients about sleeping position, the most common thing I hear is that I start on my ________ but I end up on my _________. Fill in the blank. They toss and turn all night long because as we stated earlier, they do not sleep in a neutral position and their brain senses they are in pain, which causes them to toss and turn. Remember, the pain is caused from side sleeping for two reasons:

  1. Weight distributed over a small surface area as compared to sleeping on your back
  2. Abnormal lateral forces applied to your spine from side sleeping

What Is a Neutral Sleeping Position?

You should be able to fall asleep in one position and stay in the position the entire night if your body is in a supported neutral position. A neutral position is when your body weight is distributed over the greatest surface area and your spinal curves are supported. The only neutral position of the spine is sleeping on your back with a pillow under your neck.

Your arms are down by your side and your feet are out of the covers. Please see my video for a representation of this position. For more information on sleep you can visit www.AtlantisWellness.com/sleep.

How Do You Start Sleeping on Your Back?

When you first start sleeping on your back it will NOT be comfortable and you will not stay on your back for the whole night. Just like working out for the first time, or doing a new activity, your body will be in pain as it adapts. Don’t get frustrated and do not expect to succeed right away.

Our experience is that it takes an average of three to four months for some to convert from a side sleeper to a back sleeper, and even longer if you are converting from being a stomach sleeper. There are different techniques we give to our patients to use. You can visit www.AtlantisWellness.com/sleep for more healthy sleeping tips.

Dr. Mercola’s Comment

I have known Peter for many years and he is always fun to be with. I was really impressed with his rationale for using this sleeping position and have personally been using it for a number of months and really enjoy it. I am not claiming that it is the only way to sleep, but encourage you to consider it and see if it works for you.

I do have three other comments that I think would help, though. The first is to recognize that a large percentage of the population has sleep apnea and if you are going to sleep on your back, this will likely worsen it. A solution for many, and one that I use myself, is to use paper tape over your mouth before you go to bed, thus forcing you to breathe through your nose and stop snoring.

The second, and perhaps most important, is probably one of the single most important things you can do for sleep, and that is to turn off ALL electricity to your room by going to the breaker box and shutting it off. You can have an electrician install a remote breaker for convenience, which is what I have done. This will virtually eliminate most electric fields in your bedroom.

This is important, as exposure to electric and magnetic fields during sleep can seriously impair your melatonin production and deep sleep. I used an expensive gigahertz electrical and magnetic meter to determine that the electrical fields in my bedroom decrease by 1,000 times when I shut off the electricity. It helps to use a battery operated talking clock so you can tell what time it is. I use one with a large button1 that works really well for me.

Lastly, remember to block all blue light once the sun goes down. This includes not only your home lighting but the lighting from your devices, phones, tablets, computers and TVs. 

Moods Are Contagious: Good and Bad

By Dr. Mercola

The idea that emotions can travel between populations similar to outbreaks of disease is not new. More than 200 years ago, an epidemic of suicides occurred in Europe. Most of the victims had read a book titled “The Sorrows of Young Werther,” by Johann von Goethe, in which the hero commits suicide. To stop the wave of suicides, the book was banned in several areas, according to a study published in The Journal of Memetics, which continued:1

“During the two hundred years that have followed the publication and subsequent censorship of Goethe’s novel, social scientific research has largely confirmed the thesis that affect, attitudes, beliefs and behavior can indeed spread through populations as if they were somehow infectious.”

Fortunately, it’s not only negative emotions that seem to spread like wildfire; positive emotions are contagious too. It’s an important point to remember when choosing with whom to associate and spend your time, as surrounding yourself with happy people may be key to feeling happy yourself.

Teenagers ‘Catch’ Each Other’s Moods

In a study of more than 2,000 junior high and high school students, researchers used data from depression screenings and surveys to determine social and mood changes over time. As you might suspect, students with friends suffering from bad moods were more likely to report bad moods themselves, while the opposite also held true — students with happier friends were happier themselves.2 Various components of mood, including appetite, tiredness and sleep were assessed, with the researchers concluding:3

“We find that having more friends with worse mood is associated with a higher probability of an adolescent worsening in mood and a lower probability of improving, and vice versa for friends with better mood, for the overwhelming majority of mood components.”

This means that not only can your happy mood benefit that of your friends, but taking steps to boost your mood if you’re feeling down may trickle down to make your friends feel more chipper too. The contagious effect was not strong enough in the negative direction to increase depression incidence, however, which may explain why past research has found the social contagion theory does not appear to extend to depression. It did increase the risk of certain depressive symptoms, though.

That being said, the study has implications for teens and adults suffering from what’s known as subthreshold depression, which is estimated to affect 300 million people worldwide.4 This describes the many cases when a person suffers from discontent and other depressive symptoms but at a level that’s under what’s typically diagnosed as clinical depression. The study found that symptoms of subthreshold depression may spread socially among teens:5

“Subthreshold levels of depressive symptoms in adolescents is an issue of great current concern as they have been found to be very common, to cause a reduced quality of life and to lead to greater risk of depression later on in life than having no symptoms at all.

Understanding that these components of mood can spread socially suggests that while the primary target of social interventions should be to increase friendship because of its benefits in reducing of the risk of depression, a secondary aim could be to reduce spreading of negative mood.”

Facebook Lurking Linked to Depression

It’s becoming increasingly clear that emotions do, in fact, spread, both in person and online. With an estimated 1.65 billion people using the social media site Facebook actively every month, spending an average of 50 minutes on the site daily,6 this has major implications for public health. In this case, unlike the contagiousness of positive moods in person, lurking on Facebook and seeing other people’s perfect, happy posts can in turn make you feel depressed.7

The problem may be social comparison, in that comparing your life to other’s triggers a feeling that you need to “keep up with the Joneses” instead of being happy with what you have. University of Houston researchers found, however, that all types of social comparisons — whether upward, downward or even neutral — were linked to a greater likelihood of depressive symptoms.8

A study of more than 1,000 people in Denmark further revealed causal evidence that “Facebook affects our well-being negatively.”9 Facebook users who took a one-week break from the site reported significantly higher levels of life satisfaction and a significantly improved emotional life. Such gains were greatest among heavy Facebook users, those who used the site passively (lurking but not necessarily interacting with others) and those who tended to envy others on Facebook.

Another study, conducted by researchers from Lancaster University in England, examined studies from 14 countries to explore the connection between Facebook usage and depression. It was found that negative comparisons with others on Facebook were predictive of depression because they increased rumination.10

Likewise, frequent posting on Facebook was also associated with increased rumination and depression. Women were more likely to become depressed than men due to Facebook usage, as were people with neurotic personalities. In addition, Facebook users were more at risk of depression if they displayed the following:11

  • Felt envy after observing others
  • Accepted former partners as Facebook friends
  • Made negative social comparisons
  • Made frequent negative status updates

Social Happiness Can Spread by Three Degrees

In 2008, researchers again found that a friend living within a mile of a happy friend has a 25 percent greater chance of becoming happy over the 20-year study period.12 The neighbor of a happy person increases their likelihood of happiness by an impressive 34 percent, even more than the spouse of a happy person (who is 8 percent more likely to be happy).

Equally impressive, however, was the finding that happiness can spread through social networks by up to three degrees, meaning friends of friends of friends can all benefit from one person’s rosy disposition. According to the researchers:13

“People who are surrounded by many happy people and those who are central in the network are more likely to become happy in the future. Longitudinal statistical models suggest that clusters of happiness result from the spread of happiness and not just a tendency for people to associate with similar individuals …

People’s happiness depends on the happiness of others with whom they are connected. This provides further justification for seeing happiness, like health, as a collective phenomenon.”

The same holds true among groups, such as athletes on a sports team or a group of colleagues at the office. It’s been shown, for instance, that the group leader’s mood influences the mood of the rest of the group. If their mood was positive, the group enjoyed more coordination and expended less effort in one study, compared to groups with negative leaders.14 Even witnessing unpleasant interactions between other co-workers is enough to leave employees feeling emotionally drained.15

You Can Also ‘Catch’ Others’ Stress

Research published in the journal Psychoneuroendocrinology revealed that simply observing someone else in a stressful situation typically elicits an empathic stress response in the observer.16 When observing stressed participants (who were asked to solve difficult arithmetic tasks and engage in interviews) through a one-way mirror, 30 percent of the observers experienced a stress response in the form of an increase in the stress hormone cortisol.

When the observer had a romantic relationship with the stressed participant, the emphatic stress response was even stronger, affecting 40 percent. However, even when observing a stressed stranger, 10 percent of observers felt similarly stressed. The stress response was transmitted not only when observers watched the event live, through a one-way mirror, but also via video transmission.

About 24 percent of the observers had increased cortisol levels when they watched a televised version of the stressful event. It’s also been shown that viewing a video with a speaker under high stress or recovering from a stressful situation led to changes in viewers’ cardiac activity.

“These data add to the existing literature of emotional contagion research, and bolster the idea that stress can be contagious on a psychophysiological level,” the researchers noted, adding, “These particular findings are of importance as they demonstrate that individuals can detect stress in others, even in the absence of overt context-dependent stress cues (i.e., stressful topic of speech), and have cardiac responses that are related to those of the speaker.”17

It’s interesting to note, too, that catching others’ emotions may be a very natural trait, but one that may be missing in those at risk of psychological problems, particularly psychopathy. In one study, for instance, boys at risk for psychopathy showed reduced laughter contagion.18

Surround Yourself With Happy People

The take-home message here is that the more you can surround yourself with positive, happy people, the better your emotional health is likely to be. This is true for children and teens, too, so be aware of who your child’s friends are. Connecting with positive people may not be as difficult as it may seem, particularly if you involve yourself in activities that you enjoy and/or benefit your community.

Remember that everyone starts out as a stranger, but you can add more meaningful relationships to your life just by being open to communicating with those around you — even those you don’t yet know. Opening up a conversation about a neutral third subject — your dog, the commute or even the weather — can be the conduit you need to eventually get into more meaningful conversation.

You could also consider volunteering or engaging in an activity that uses your time or skills to help others. Giving to others is linked to happiness, and taking part in being generous in a group setting may only magnify this effect while giving you the opportunity to bask in others’ happiness and form new relationships. Still, you needn’t rely solely on others to boost your mood and enjoy happiness.

Perhaps you’d prefer to be the happy person that others gravitate to. In that case, in the video above London School of Economics (LSE) economist Lord Richard Layard, founder of Action for Happiness, a movement of people committed to building a happier and more caring society, suggests not tying your inner purpose to becoming richer and instead focus on achieving happiness and well-being.

Action for Happiness, whose members pledge to try to create more happiness in the world around them, has compiled 10 keys to happier living, which, based on the latest research, tend to make life happier and more fulfilling. They spell out “GREAT DREAM” and make a great place to start your journey to happiness:19

  • Giving: Do things for others
  • Relating: Connect with people
  • Exercising: Take care of your body
  • Awareness: Live life mindfully
  • Trying Out: Keep learning new things
  • Direction: Have goals to look forward to
  • Resilience: Find ways to bounce back
  • Emotions: Look for what’s good
  • Acceptance: Be comfortable with who you are
  • Meaning: Be part of something bigger

What Are Parsley Oil’s Uses and Benefits?

Parsley is a popular and versatile herb that adds a mild flavor to many dishes. Oftentimes you’ll see it added to your plate for a more attractive presentation. However, parsley actually provides a number of benefits that you may be missing out on if you only use it as a garnish — for instance, it is made into a versatile essential oil with many uses. Learn more about parsley oil in this article.   

What Is Parsley Oil?

Parsley oil is extracted from Petroselinum crispum, a hardy and fragrant biennial herb from the Apiaceae family.1 Parsley is native to the Mediterranean region, but is now grown in gardens worldwide as a versatile culinary herb. Its name is derived from the Greek word “petros,” which means “stone,” as this plant often grows in rocky terrains.2

Parsley reaches only 1 to 2 feet in height before flowering and thrives best in areas with partial shade.3 There are two common types of parsley: Italian parsley, also known as flat-leaf parsley and popular in Mediterranean countries; and curly leaf parsley. Between the two, Italian parsley has a more intense flavor, making it a more popular choice for cooking.

In culinary applications, freshly picked parsley is preferred. Simply wash the leaves and stems, chop into small pieces and then sprinkle over the dish before serving. 

Parsley oil, on the other hand must be extracted from the seeds, roots and leaves of the plant. The seeds actually contain more essential oils, although the entire plant can be used for making the oil. Parsley oil is either colorless or a very pale yellow color, and has a more bitter scent compared to the fresh plant.  

Uses of Parsley Oil

In industrial applications, parsley oil is used as an ingredient for soaps, cosmetics, detergents, colognes and perfumes, especially men’s fragrances.4 It also has aromatherapeutic uses and has been used to treat various illnesses, including jaundice and malaria.5 This oil also has antibacterial and antifungal properties that can help treat pimples, acne and skin infections, as well as disinfect pores.

Diluted parsley oil can also be massaged onto the scalp to help prevent hair loss.7 However, do NOT use undiluted parsley oil topically (especially concentrated formulations) because it can burn your skin. Instead, you can:6

Dilute parsley oil in a carrier oil like olive or almond oil and then apply it to the face. Leave it for at least 30 minutes before rinsing.

Mix a drop of parsley oil with tea tree oil and apple cider vinegar and use as a toner to help keep your skin blemish-free.

Composition of Parsley Oil

The principal constituents of parsley oil include a-terpinene, a-pinene, apiole, a crystalline substance, as well as myristicine, glucoside apiin, palmitic acid, oleoresin and tetramethoxyally-benzene.8 It also contains certain flavonoids such as apigenin, appiin luteolin and crisoeriol.9

Benefits of Parsley Oil

Parsley oil exhibits antimicrobial, antiseptic, astringent, carminative, digestive, diuretic, and detoxifying properties. It can be useful for various health ailments, such as:

Infections — Parsley oil can help kill microbes and inhibit their growth, protecting you from various infections and diseases.

Rheumatism and arthritisThese are diseases that result from obstructed blood circulation and the accumulation of uric acid in the muscles and joints. Parsley helps detoxify your body of toxins and refreshes your blood. It also increases circulation, which helps relieve pain brought on by these ailments.

Digestive issues — Parsley oil’s carminative properties can help relieve and treat indigestion, nausea, flatulence, vomiting and stomach aches.

Animal studies have also found that parsley’s potent volatile oils, particularly myristicin, may help inhibit tumor formation, especially in the lungs. This means that parsley and its essential oil potentially have chemoprotective properties.

How to Make Parsley Oil Infusion

Most parsley oil brands sold today are highly concentrated and are made via steam distillation. However, you can easily make an edible oil infusion in your kitchen. Here are the steps: 10, 11

Parsley Oil Infusion

3 bunches flat-leaf parsley

3 cups olive oil (you can also use coconut oil)


Boil a pot of water. Once it’s boiling, blanch the parsley, stems intact: Simply place the parsley in a sieve and put it into the boiling water for 10 seconds and then immediately remove and transfer to a bowl of iced water for a few seconds, until the parsley is cold. Dry the parsley on paper towels.

Place the parsley in a blender along with a cup of the olive oil and blend completely or until the paste turns a bright green color. Do not let the blender run for too long, though, as the friction may create heat, causing the color of the parsley to fade.

Transfer the parsley paste into a clean glass jar. Add the remaining oil and shake well, then cover tightly. Place in the refrigerator for a day. You’ll notice that the herbs will settle to the bottom of the jar.

Put an unbleached coffee filter over another glass jar and then ladle the parsley mixture into the filter. Let it drain.

You can drizzle this parsley oil infusion over your salads, adding a beautiful green color and flavor to them. You can also use it to decorate serving plates. Mix it in a vinaigrette, add it to a cold soup or use it to garnish chicken or fish. Refrigerated, it will stay fresh for a week. For a longer shelf life, store it in the freezer.

How Does Parsley Oil Work?

Parsley oil’s health benefits mostly come from its unique plant compounds. For example, apigenin was found to be a potent antioxidant that has anticarcinogenic and anti-inflammatory properties. Meanwhile, the apiole is associated with antispasmodic and vasodilatory effects.12

While fresh parsley leaves can be consumed or added to facial masks and other homemade natural remedies, the same cannot be said for parsley essential oil. Most brands are highly concentrated and, if used incorrectly or in excessive amounts, may actually do more harm than good. When utilized as an essential oil, you should always dilute parsley oil with a carrier oil.

Is Parsley Oil Safe?

I do not recommend the aromatherapeutic use of parsley oil without the supervision of a qualified health care practitioner. Do not ingest this oil, especially in large amounts, as it can be hepatotoxic, meaning it may cause severe liver damage. Do not use it if you are suffering from any liver-related ailments.

I also advise pregnant women and nursing moms to avoid using this oil because it is an abortifacient, meaning it can induce spontaneous abortion. Do not use this oil on very young children either. When applying topically, dilute parsley oil in a safe carrier oil like olive, almond or coconut oil. I also advise doing a skin patch test before using this oil to make sure that you do not have allergic reactions to it.  

Side Effects of Parsley Oil

Parsley oil contains oleoresin which, according to research, acts as a distinct stimulus on your brain’s and spine’s nerve centers. Beware: In large amounts, it can produce the opposite of the desired effect and may be dangerous. Watch for symptoms like sudden low blood pressure, giddiness, deafness and slow pulse. Seek a doctor immediately if you experience any of these effects.

The Napa Truffle Festival is Happening! (January 12-15, 2018)

One of the most exciting festivals in the Napa Valley of California is the Napa Truffle Festival by the American Truffle Company. This Festival is held annually and currently, they are preparing for the big event which will be held on January 12-15, 2018.

If you are a truffle addict, Save the date! This is one festival that you must not surely miss…

There are a lot of fun and exciting activities in store for you. Learn everything you need to know about truffles from the different workshops, seminars, and demonstrations. You’ll have a blast learning how to dig for truffles and best of all, everyone gets the opportunity to enjoy luscious and sumptuous meals throughout the festival!

One of the highlights of this event is an evening with Top Truffle Chef of North America, Ken Frank. Participants will be able to witness and experience his culinary brilliance in truffle dish preparation. Revel in Ken’s excellently prepped truffle dishes at the multi-course Truffles & Wine Dinner during the Napa Truffle Festival. As if that wasn’t enough, Michelin award-winning chefs will each prepare a course for the feast! This alone sounds like a dream come true!

Also, some of the most renowned scientists and experts in the field will walk the woods with you as you forage for your exotic and wild mushrooms. From this wild mushroom foray, you can enjoy nature, learn the basics about mushrooms and identify the kinds of mushrooms that are edible for cooking!

Learn more about this festival and how you can 
take part in this awesome event! VISIT: napatrufflefestival.com

***Also, if you’re in the Napa area during the festival, make sure to check out the Truffle Festival Marketplace at Oxbow Public Market on Monday, January 15.

Check out this highlight video from 2017:

The post The Napa Truffle Festival is Happening! (January 12-15, 2018) appeared first on TruffleAddict.

Launch of To The Stars Academy Promises Transport Revolution with Space-Time Technology

(Dr. Michael SallaRockstar Tom DeLonge today Live Streamed the launch of his latest venture, To The Stars Academy of Arts & Science. During this Live Streaming he introduced a number of former aerospace scientists and defense department personnel knowledgeable in applying exotic information gained from the Unidentified Aerial Phenomenon (UAP – aka UFO) for the development of advanced transportation technologies.
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