Can Chiropractic Help With Carpal Tunnel?

One of the things that makes getting proper care for this condition is in the right understanding of where your problem is actually coming from. Specifically, many patients come to us saying that they have carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) – some diagnosed by their physician, others self-diagnosed – yet have something unrelated to this condition.

carpal tunnel surgery

I’m certainly biased, but I don’t ever want the people I care for to have to go through this surgical procedure.

You see, the carpal tunnel is a place in your wrist where the wrist (carpal) bones form a tunnel through which the median nerve passes. This nerve is responsible for sending information to the first three fingers – thumb, index and middle finger (primarily). If you have tingling and/or numbness in your pinkie or both hands, all fingers, this is not necessarily the condition called CTS.

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In fact, what is a much more common and likely is that there is malfunction, irritation or tension of the cervical spine (neck region) and nerve roots coming from this part of your spinal cord. When this occurs, it is quite common to feel like the hands or fingers are falling asleep – that pins and needles sensation.

With further progression of this nerve irritation and malfunction, you’ll start to notice muscle ache and weakness. You may start to feel more clumsy, dropping items or having a harder time holding onto smaller objects with your normal level of dexterity. Wasting of muscle tone – atrophy – can also happen with this nerve compression and malfunction if it is not addressed.

Many times, the origin of this problem stems from issues with prolonged stresses on the spine and surrounding musculature, affecting posture and the overall structure of the spine itself. When not properly addressed, stress from various causes will cause tension to be carried by the spine and nerve tissues – namely through a process called adverse mechanical cord tension, coined by Alf Brieg, PhD a neuroscientist.

This process causes otherwise normal and healthy nerves to ‘short circuit’ and begin to fire or not fire, as the case may be, losing their ability for the brain and body to communicate effectively with one another. Without this vital communication pathway open, the messages being sent along these nerves will not get through. The result of this degeneration of the spine, postural distortions, nerve damage and chronic pain.

Luckily, this process can be corrected with very gentle chiropractic care. Your initial evaluation, exam and any necessary imaging of your spine will help us to determine what is going on with you and how we can help. Contact us today to get started. We look forward to helping you!

 

 

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Chiropractors Look Beyond Just the Skin for Beauty

When it comes to looking good, most of us think of our outward appearance; our skin, hair, nails, clothing, jewelry, etc. These certainly make up part of what helps us look – and feel – good, but there’s more. Thank goodness your local family chiropractor is looking out for you.

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Lois Conway, winner of the 1956 posture contest poses next to her X-ray.

“Where does a chiropractor look?”, you might be wondering. We look to the spine as it is the foundation for not only your bodily support but for the support of your body’s ‘lifeline’ in your spinal cord itself.

The latest research is suggesting that we look at the spinal cord as merely an extension of the brain. We’ve been discussing it this way for years, but it’s okay, I’m not bitter about it. 🙂 It just reminds me that my beloved profession is finally getting the attention it has earned for so long. We’re the largest drugless health care profession that is based on natural principles of health and living.

This wasn’t always the case. Back in the 1950s, chiropractic had a bit of a PR problem. So, some decided to take on the challenge and start a beauty pageant. Only, this pageant wasn’t solely based on looks and talent on the outside, it also had a posture component.

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Other contestants with the winner.

Who better to address these issues than chiropractors? And, wouldn’t you know it, we just happen to have some trained professionals here in the studio. They used the classic double weight scales, plumb lines and X-rays to determine who had the most balanced and posturally correct spine. NPR did a great story about this titled You Think Beauty Is Skin Deep? You’re Not A Chiropractor

It was a fun piece that I can look back on and thank my forefathers in the profession for. If not for them and their pioneering spirit, I wouldn’t be in the position I’m in now to be of service to so many grateful and loving people that are in my practice and my life.

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Dr. Mike Funicello Interviewed by Dr. Anne Borik

On Wednesday, July 11th, I was interviewed by Dr. Anne Borik of DocTalkRadio.com. Dr. Borik is a Board Certified  Internal Medical Doctor with Gilbert Hospital and the Chief of Staff at Florence Hospital at Anthem. Her program explores ways to help you understand more about you can live a more healthy life and maximize your well being. And, this is just what we talked about when discussing what chiropractic care is and what it does for people.

We got to talk about my background in molecular and cellular biology and how this has come full circle for me in life and in the lives of the patients with whom I’m honored to be of service.

We talked about kids and chiropractic and why you would want your kids to be checked by a chiropractor from an early age.

Enough with the description, you can watch it already and hear for yourself. Enjoy!

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Dr. Oz and Chiropractic: What Does He Say?

While Dr. Oz may not have the exact same chiropractic philosophy as we do, he has the reach to be in a position to help many many people discover the benefits of chiropractic for back pain and many more health conditions that we discuss here on our site.

I enjoyed his attention to describing what the root words for chiropractic stand for (Greek meaning ‘done by hand’). While the methods shown here are different than what we offer in our office, you can appreciate the fact that chiropractic is helping the body to heal itself – as the chiropractor in this video discusses.

When we remove the interference to the nerve system, the communication between brain and body is able to fully express itself and you are able to heal and function at your optimum.

So, enjoy this video of a recent Dr. Oz show where he talks about the spine and why you can benefit from chiropractic.

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Where Do Your Lower Back and Organs Meet?

In the lower back region of your body – your spine – is where the nerves exist that control the function to your lower abdomen organs, sexual organs and also sensation and motor function to your legs and feet. So, you might be curious to know how subluxations in your lower back can affect the function of your nerves and their ability relay the messages necessary for optimal function to your organs and legs.

spine imageMuch like in the upper back region, the nerves exit the spinal cord through the openings between your spinal bones and then regulate function to the tissues that are innervated by those nerves. In other words, all the cells, tissues and organs in your body need the nerves to send their messages and regulation to function properly. Without proper nerve communication, your body will not function at 100% and your health will suffer.

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Now, if the affected nerves (subluxations) interfere with the function of your legs, you may notice cramping, low back pain or tingling and numbness.  If this progresses, you may even notice a weakness and inability to move your leg and feet properly.  Sometimes, this shows up as frequent tripping, falls or a type of slapping of your foot on the ground as you walk. If you or someone you know is experiencing these symptoms, it’s time to get it checked out! Like, yesterday!!

These are serious indications that your body is shutting down. It is also imperative to make sure that your nerves are functioning at their best because it is these SAME NERVES that coordinate function among the organs in your abdomen and sexual function.

Recently, the main stream media channels were running stories about how chiropractic care can help women with infertility and other conception issues. How can this be, you may be wondering.  Again, once you understand that the nerves relay messages between your body and your spinal cord and brain, it just makes sense that you need to keep these messages flowing freely throughout.

Other issues in the gastrointestinal system, like irritable bowl syndrome and Crohn’s disease, are also highly affected by stress and how well your body is communicating by way of your nerve system. Chiropractor’s don’t treat these conditions, per se, we address your spine for subluxations that are signs that your body is trying it’s best to adapt to the situations you are experiencing in life.

Subluxations in the spine is the term we use to describe the interference with this innate ability that we are born with.  A variety of physical, mental, emotional or biochemical stressors can affect your body’s ability to adapt effectively. In the short term, you may get muscle spasms, changes to your posture and signals such as pain.

These are all changes that take place as your body attempts to keep you ‘safe and protected’ from what you could not effectively adapt to at the time the stressors happened.  However, if you do not correct these underlying issues and subluxations, your health will suffer and you will end up with more chronic pain and long term consequences you certainly don’t want to entertain.

Dr. Mike is a chiropractor in Gilbert, AZ and helps many people living with a variety of conditions and health concerns. If you’d like to talk with him regarding your health concern, please feel free to contact our office to schedule your initial consultation and exam. We look forward to helping you get your life back soon.

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Dr. Fabricio Mancini | The Power of Self-Healing

If you’re an advocate for natural and or healthy living, then you may have heard about the recent buzz over Dr. Fabrizio Mancini’s new book, The Power of Self Healing. One reason that you may have heard about this new book of his is because he has been doing much on the national media circuit, including the Dr. Phil show and The Doctors (watch video below).

Most of us are no strangers to health problems, illness, or pain, but what if there’s a solution to restore our well-being that doesn’t involve drugs, surgery, or other medical procedures?

Well, there is, and you’ll find it within your own body. That’s right! Your body has a built-in capacity to heal itself-a remarkable system of self-repair that works day in and day out-and improving its ability to heal is within your control.

Yet most people don’t fully grasp the body’s incredible power to heal itself, largely because traditional medicine has led us to believe that health comes from the outside in and not from the inside out. Did you know, for example, that approximately 50 percent of all illnesses, when left alone, will eventually heal themselves?

In this groundbreaking book, Dr. Fabrizio Mancini, an expert in self-healing medicine, shows you how to tap into your body’s own healing powers through:

  •  Simple substitutions to your daily diet-foods called “strengtheners”-that can inspire your ability to self-heal
  • The latest breakthrough supplements that can strengthen the self-healing capacities of your body
  • New insights into how physical activity floods your body with natural healing substances
  • The latest non-drug, non-invasive technologies that can bring you back to health
  • The power of the mind and spirit to heal the body
  • Inspiring stories of real-life self-healing
  • A 21-day program to unlock your self-healing powers

If you choose to take care of your body every day, it will reward you a thousand times over-improving your odds against everything from heart disease, cancer, and diabetes; to arthritis, allergies, colds, late-winter flu, and more.

Remember, you have the power to be and stay healthy because healing truly comes from within. The Power of Self-Healing will help you accomplish all this and more!

What is exciting about this to me, as a chiropractor in Gilbert, is that he is bringing the powerful message that healing comes from within to a much wider audience. With this exposure, many more people will get an appreciation for how they may benefit from chiropractic care. In fact, maybe you never realized that your thyroid gland was regulated by branches of  the same nerves that control motor function in your upper back and arms. Likewise, the digestive system’s function is regulated by the nerves that are in the area of your lower mid back (thoracic) and upper lower back (lumbar) regions. Gives you a whole greater appreciation for why that lower back pain should be addressed, doesn’t it?!

See, the thing is, chiropractic is not just for back pain, it’s for nerve function and health. When there are spinal subluxations (interference with the messages being carried along the nerves in your body), it affects the function of ALL systems in your body. This includes muscles, tissues, glands and organs. Pain is often an indicator that something is off in your body and needs to be addressed. When the nerves are ‘off’, your body is not functioning at 100%.

In fact, the term ‘subluxation’ comes from the root words ‘sub’ – less and ‘lux’ – light. So, really, subluxation means less light. Your health and ultimately your quality of life is dimmer when your spine has subluxations.  More and more health care practitioners are embracing these concepts. The reason is clear; the world is embracing these concepts!  

If your doctor still just wants to treat your symptoms with drugs, physical therapy or surgery, then they are practicing an old and out-dated model of healthcare. This is no longer the standard of care. Holistic medicine (sort of an oxy-moron) is the future of healthcare, no matter how it is implemented or debated in the national political climate.

As Dr. Fab talks about, health is a function of physical, mental, emotional and spiritual dimensions. A positive frame of mind, healthy diet, physical exercise and proper spinal health and function are all critical components to optimal health. Dr. Mancini’s title of the book recognizes one of the most powerful principles as it relates to your health.

Your own health is governed by this fact that your body is self healing. Every 5 days or so, the lining of your stomach is renewed. Every 120 days, your red blood cells are replaced. Taste buds every 11 days. In fact, 98% of all the cells of your body are replaced each year. The important point to consider is that this process follows a very exact program that it was designed to carry out.

Subluxations in your spine are signs that this program has gone awry and needs intervention to help you get back on track to better health once again. The good news is that your body is self healing! So, it doesn’t need any outside help, just no interference.  This is what chiropractors do – and we’re the only health care professionals that do it!

I’m not bragging, I’m just so passionate about this! I became a Gilbert chiropractor to help people live more pain free, healthier and happier lives. When the larger, more national media outlets pick up stories like this, it allows me and my colleagues to be of greater service to our community.

If you or someone you know is experiencing pain, tingling or numbness, problems with their GI system, Crohn’s, ulcerative colitis, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) or a host of other symptoms and conditions, you may have subluxation(s) in your spine affecting the nerves that control the function of these areas. The only way to know is to have your spine examined.

Contact us at Infinite Healing Arts Center to schedule your consultation and examination to see if you would be a candidate for our unique care. We’d love to help you feel and function your best again! All the very best to you and your family!

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How Do the Nerves of Your Lower Neck Relate with Body Organs

You may think of physical pain as the only effect of interference on your spinal nerves. The truth is, there are many ways that your body can express dysfunction as the nerves are interfered with. Just as an example, we’re going to cover what may happen when there are subluxations (spinal interference) in the lower cervical spine region.

You may notice neck pain, but this will often be simply the first symptoms to arise. Similarly, upper back pain, shoulder tightness and tension are often the first symptoms to arise when there are subluxations and spinal interference in your lower neck area.

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Here is an artistic representation of the connections among nerves.

If this subluxation is allowed to remain uncorrected, then further dysfunction will be expressed in a variety of ways. The next thing you may be aware of is tingling and numbness in your arm, hands or fingers. When your hands begin to fall asleep, we call this paresthesia and this is a sure sign that your nerves are not functioning at 100%. Sometimes, these symptoms can be mistakenly diagnosed as carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS).

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Along with these symptoms, you may also be aware of your hands feeling tight or swollen, making it harder to put wrings on and off.  Feeling your hands and fingers being colder can be another sign that there is a problem with your nerves. Raynaud’s is a disorder where the hands and fingers are colder and sometimes painful. This may or may not be related to the condition you are experiencing.

Finally, if you do not address this issue with your spinal nerves, you may begin to notice weakness and difficulty doing overhead activities like doing your hair, putting on your shirt, lifting your kids and putting things away in your cabinets or up in the garage. You may also experience hand or finger weakness and find that you’re dropping things more frequently Have you noticed any of these things?  This is not normal!

Now, besides the fact that some or all of these symptoms are all being expressed, these same nerves are also the ones that control your vocal cords and thyroid, among other tissues and glands. Some of the symptoms of these organs being affected include having to clear your throat much more often and problems with voice pitch (if you are a singer you may notice this more).

When the thyroid is affected by these nerves, you may experience changes in energy levels, mood, have weight loss or gain, anxiety and racing of your heart. There are also blood test changes in cholesterol and thyroid hormone levels that will show up. If you’ve noticed any of these symptoms, you’re heading down the wrong path.

How Can Chiropractic Help?

This is really the ultimate question and, as a chiropractor in Gilbert, one I hear often. You can see how a variety of symptoms, like muscle spasms, weakness and altered sensation can be the result of spinal subluxations affecting the nerves that control the muscles and skeletal system.

Then, we discussed how these same nerves also regulate organ function, like the vocal cords and thyroid gland. In other articles, we discuss how the gastrointestinal (GI) system and other bodily organs can be affected in the same manner.

How chiropractic care can help you is by removing the interference to the function of your nervous system so that your body can function at its best. Now is the time to change the course that you’re on. You can reverse many of the changes that have taken place by having your spine properly evaluated, then having your subluxations corrected. Spinal degeneration is a reversible process if it is corrected in time. Looking forward to helping you soon!

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Chiropractic Care Improves Heart Rate Variability

If you’re looking for more reasons to consider chiropractic care, then add improved heart rate variability (HRV)1 to the list.  While many people (mistakenly) think of chiropractic as some form of back pain treatment, there are many more benefits.  This recent evidence for improvements with heart rate variability is among several that highlight the role chiropractic can play on a more systemic or holistic way in your body.

chiropractic heart rate variabilityAnother study has come out recently that reports how chiropractic care can lower blood pressure and improve cardiac function. Again, you’re probably thinking ‘chiropractic and the heart, what’s that about?’ or something along those lines.  You’re not alone, because many people have not been exposed to the truth about what chiropractic care is really all about.

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Chiropractic is for the optimum functioning of your nervous system.

In order to get how this premise and these recent cardiac studies relate, we’ll need to do a bit of physiology – just a bit, don’t worry.  You see, the heart has an area that sets the beat.  This area is a region of heart cells that fire an electrical charge that causes the other regions of the heart muscle to contract and perform its functions.  This region is called the sino-atrial node (SA node).

What’s unique is that this area is under the regulation of the nervous system. Specifically, it is regulated by branches of the autonomic nervous system.  This is the part that helps you digest your food, unconsciously helps you breathe, regulates hormone functions and a host of other important bodily system functions.

There are nerve fibers that feed this area in either a ‘up-regulating’ or ‘down-regulating’ fashion.  We call these the sympathetic and parasympathetic systems, respectively.  You could also think of them like a gas pedal and brake pedal.  When our bodies are experiencing stressful states, the gas pedal is pressed, causing the heart rate (and blood pressure) to rise.  When the stress is gone, the brake pedal (parasympathetic system) is active and heart rate and blood pressure drop.

What happens is that stress or tension that your body cannot properly adapt to will cause tension to build within your muscular and connective tissues, most notably those around the spine.  Because of the way these tissues relate with the spinal cord and brain stem areas, this tension can lead to an alteration in regulation of the autonomic nervous system.

The answer lies not with simply trying medication in an attempt to somehow control these issues.  The way to ultimately resolve this issue with the underlying tension on these tissues is with appropriate chiropractic care.  When this underlying tension is addressed, a more variable and flexible state within your nervous system can manifest.  This will allow your body functions to be at their best.

Dr. Michael Funicello is a Gilbert chiropractor who utilizes a gentle and effective approach known as Network Spinal Analysis to help his clients regulate their level of spinal and neural tension.  This means that they have greater flexibility, adapt to stress and improve their life – all while being moree pain free.  You can too!…all you have to do is contact us today.

Reference:

1 http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16690380

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Chiropractic Care Can Improve Cardiac Function and Blood Pressure

Just when you were starting to think you understood the benefits of chiropractic care, along come another study to throw a monkey wrench into your ideas.  Because, the thing is, these studies are proving that chiropractic care has much more to offer than simple relief of neck or back problems.  Yes, as it turns out, the science and research is finally coming to ‘catch up’ with what doctors of chiropractic have been saying and practicing for over 100 years!

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Chiropractic is about your nervous system. Period.

Simple but true.

It always has been, too.  It’s just that it is easier to explain that the bones of your spine move and can become misaligned with respect to one another.  This doesn’t change the fact that along with these spinal contour changes comes alterations in function of other tissues, organs and even brain function!

For the purposes of this article, we’ll be focusing on the relationship between chiropractic and cardiac function and blood pressure changes.  Various chiropractic techniques have been demonstrated to show improved cardiovascular function as a result of appropriate chiropractic care.

What does this really mean?  What we’re really saying is that by working with your spine, we affect the function of your nervous system.  The nervous system is comprised of both up-regulating and down-regulating elements.  Specifically, there are two branches of the autonomic nervous system, known as the sympathetic (up-regulating) and parasympathetic (down-regulating).

These work in harmony to keep your body in a state of dynamic balance.  You can think of it like a gas pedal and a brake pedal.  You need both for your body to function at its optimum. When your body is able to adapt effectively, because of a flexible and adaptable nervous system, your body feels and functions better.

As it pertains to cardiovascular health, the vagus nerve helps to regulate the sinus rhythm of your heart and this relates with the overall tone of your blood pressure.  Of course, the kidneys, hormones and other pathology factors may lead to changes in cardiovascular function as well.  Keep in mind, however, that the other organs and tissue systems also have nerve system input and regulation.  It has also been shown that postural changes are associated with hormone function, breathing, heart rate and headaches.

In another article about heart rate variability, we’re discussing the benefits of chiropractic as well.  Briefly, the idea is that when your heart rate has a more variable frequency, that this is a reflection of a more dynamic and adaptable nervous system.

It’s a similar end result in terms of what happens, increase health and well being, it just depends on what you’re looking at or measuring. In the case of cardiovascular health, blood pressure is often one of the measured variables.  So, studies that show that chiropractic can lower blood pressure are the more published findings.

If you know anyone who is concerned about their blood pressure, cardiovascular health or is currently taking medication for same, but is looking for effective alternative approaches, have them contact our office.  We’d be happy to introduce them to the care that we provide and see if appropriate chiropractic care can lower their blood pressure.

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How Does Network Spinal Analysis Work?

One of the most common questions people have when they begin care (whether or not they actually voice that concern to me) is ‘how does Network Spinal Analysis (NSA) work?’  In other words, how can such a gentle touch do anything to help your back pain, neck pain, headaches, fibromyalgia or other health concerns that you may be experiencing.

I want to help you understand how something so gentle – that involves none of the traditional manipulation associated with chiropractic – can create large changes in relatively short periods of time.  That is, given the fact that you’ve likely been experiencing your pain or discomfort, tension and frustration for weeks to months, maybe even years, this gentle care can be amazingly effective – and rather quickly, in most cases!

Let’s define quickly for a moment, just to allay any misconception.  Many people experience changes in their symptoms within the first few weeks to month of care.  This is with several visits per week in the beginning of care.  In some cases, yes, people experience relief in just a few visits.  But, just the relief of pain does not indicate that we’ve fully addressed and dealt with your underlying factors that have lead to your pain in the first place.

This is what we’re really both after, isn’t it?  After all, you don’t want to settle for just chasing your symptoms around, finding temporary relief, only to have it return again and again.  This is why we see so many people leaving the traditional medical model behind.  It’s an old way to address health and well-being.

The irony or ‘proof’, if you will, is that even Western medical practitioners are seeking alternative methods of health care for themselves and their OWN family.  If we were seeing your doctor for care in our office, talked with them about their organic dietary choices, noticed that they were practicing yoga and the like, don’t you think it would be harder to accept their recommendation that YOU should take drugs, do physical therapy and get a surgical consult? Just something to think about.

Okay, here’s how it works in a nutshell…

The gentle touch that we use is all that is necessary to help cue your nervous system to create a connection with your brain.  This ‘connection’ has to to do with the fact that when our bodies cannot adequately handle the stresses from life – physical, mental/emotional or biochemical – it creates a tightening.  It tightens the tension being exerted on the nerve tissues of the spinal cord.

Because of how this tissue connects with your spine and other tissues surrounding it, your body will begin to tighten, creating more tension.  This whole process is known as adverse mechanical (spinal) cord tension (AMCT) and was described in the 1970s by Dr. Alf Brieg.  These models were then applied to the clinical application of Network Care to help explain how it is that such a light force can produce such a profound change in someone’s body.

This gentle touch or entrainment, as it is called, is applied to areas on the skin overlying areas of the spine where this tissue attaches to the spinal cord and spinal bones.  The force cues the brain to create a change in physiology to unwind the tension – this occurs through a change in breath and subtle movement of the spine and related tissues.

As you progress in care, you will notice other changes occurring in your body, your health and your life.  This is what all the research supporting Network Care shows and is reflected in my private practice since 1998.

So, that spinal degeneration that you’ve seen on your Xrays or the MRI findings showing those bulging discs of yours reflect the fact that this tension and the underlying reasons for your current pain have been going on for some time.  Not to worry!  You see, it’s never too late to get a handle on your health and well being.

To learn more about Dr. Michael J. Funicello, a chiropractor in Gilbert, AZ or to find out how we can help you, contact us today.  Thank you.

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