Tuesday, June 11, 2024
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Is Golf Good For Parkinson’s

Parkinsons Has No Known Cure Yet However If The Progress That Gary Smith Has Made Is Any Indication Its Possible That A Little Golf Therapy Could Go A Long Way

9th Annual Parkinson Golf Tournament

Strange as it sounds, Gary Smith of the Chicago area, believes his Parkinson’s is in remission because he started playing golf.  A lot of golf.

Tim Rosaforte profiled Smith’s struggles last December for Golf Channel, but at a recent , Smith spoke to attendees.  His story was nothing short of miraculous.

For Smith, it all started about ten years ago, when his wife noticed that he was moving differently and that his facial expressions had changed.  He was having trouble dribbling a basketball, one of two sports he had played in college.  He knew something was wrong.

He went to a neurologist, Dr. Martha McGraw at Northwestern Hospital, and her diagnosis was Parkinson’s. He was heartbroken, but not shocked because his father had it.  Smith knew what could be ahead of him, having seen what his father lived through for more than two decades.

Naturally, Smith went to the internet to see if anything could slow down or stop the progress of gradual weakness that Parkinson’s causes. Smith’s neurologist confirmed what his internet searches said, that exercise slows down the progression of the disease.

Smith tried everything, including running marathons. None of those really worked.

Then in 2015, seven years after the initial diagnosis,  the Smiths took a trip to Scotland, near St. Andrews, to find where his wife Nan’s family home had been before they came to the U.S. They couldn’t find the ancestral homestead and presumed it was a victim of progress, paved over by something new.


Should I Talk To My Healthcare Provider Before I Start Exercising If I Have Parksinson’s Disease

Talk to your neurologist and your primary care provider before starting a new exercise regimen. They can:

  • Counsel you on how intense your exercises can be.
  • Recommend exercises appropriate for your individual health.
  • Refer you to a physical therapist to create a personal exercise program.
  • Warn about exercises to avoid based on your particular challenges or limitations.

Playing Golf In The Presence Of Parkinsons And Some Motivational Quotes For Exercise

“But in the end it’s still a game of golf, and if at the end of the day you can’t shake hands with your opponents and still be friends, then you’ve missed the point.” Payne Stewart

“You swing your best when you have the fewest things to think about.” Bobby Jones

Introduction: It is winter in North Carolina and mostly the weather is cold, cloudy, much more rain then normal, and just not conducive to playing golf. Nevertheless, last Saturday, I went to the driving range, and during a snow flurry, hit 100 golf balls. Then on Sunday, joined 2 of the 3 regular guys for a great-fun round of 18 holes . Therefore, I thought it time to write some random thoughts about golf, some thoughts linking golf practice/playing with Parkinson’s and some motivational quotes to help you exercise.

“It took me seventeen years to get three thousand hits in baseball. I did it in one afternoon on the golf course.” Hank Aaron

Playing Golf One Day by Yogi Berra: The one-and-only baseball legend Yogi Berra telling a golf story .

Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus: My two favorite golfers were Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus. What I found so amazing was their fierce competitive times, which turned into an incredibly loyal and deep friendship. Below are a few of my favorite quotes from them.

“The older I get, the better I used to be.” Lee Trevino

“A lot of guys who have have never choked, have never been in the position to do so.” Tom Watson

“Don’t count the days, make the days count.” Muhammad Ali

Where Can I Find Support If I Have Parkinson’s Disease And Want To Exercise

You can find exercise support in your community. For example, many gyms and community centers offer seated exercise classes for people who struggle with balance. Ask your healthcare provider for ideas if you have Parkinson’s disease and want to exercise.

A note from Cleveland Clinic

Exercise is an important part of managing Parkinson’s disease. Talk to your healthcare provider about your exercise program and choose activities you enjoy so you stay motivated to get up and move every day.

Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 04/08/2021.


Get Into The Swing: Golf May Have More Benefit For Parkinsons Than Tai Chi

World Parkinson

The American Academy of Neurology is the world’s largest association of neurologists and neuroscience professionals, with 36,000 members. The AAN is dedicated to promoting the highest quality patient-centered neurologic care. A neurologist is a doctor with specialized training in diagnosing, treating and managing disorders of the brain and nervous system such as Alzheimer’s disease, stroke, migraine, multiple sclerosis, concussion, Parkinson’s disease and epilepsy.

What Kind Of Exercise Can I Do If I Have Trouble Standing Or Walking

Even with advanced Parkinson’s symptoms, you can still reap the benefits of some activities. If you have trouble walking or balancing, hold a bar or rail to exercise and stretch. If standing or getting up is tough, exercise and stretch in a chair or bed. Physical exercise performed in a seated position, such as biking on a recumbent bike can allow you to exert yourself in a safe manner.

Facial exercises may help combat difficulties speaking or swallowing:

  • Chew your food longer and more vigorously.
  • Exaggerate your face and lip movements when you speak.
  • Make faces in the mirror.
  • Sing or read out loud.

Mental exercises give your brain a workout and can improve memory. For example:

  • Name as many animals as you can in 1 minute.
  • Play brain games and do puzzles.
  • Solve math problems in your head.

You can also add activity in small bits throughout your day:

  • Park further away from stores so you walk longer distances.
  • Stretch or do leg exercises while watching TV.
  • Swing your arms more when you walk, and take long strides.
  • Take the stairs instead of the elevator.

What Type Of Exercise Should I Do If I Have Parkinson’s Disease

Exercise is a planned, structured, repetitive activity that is intended to improve physical fitness. There is no “right” exercise for people with Parkinson’s. Everyone’s regimen will differ, depending on overall health, symptoms and previous level of activity. Any exercise helps, and a variety of exercise types may provide well-rounded benefits.

Aerobic exercise

Aerobic exercise involves activities that challenge your cardiorespiratory system such as walking, biking, running, and activities in the pool. Participating in aerobic exercise at least three days a week for 30-40 minutes may slow Parkinson’s decline.

Strength training

Strength training involves using your body weight or other tools to build muscle mass and strength. Strength training two days per week, starting with low repetition and weight, may be beneficial in Parkinson’s disease. A focus on extensor muscles, or muscles in the back of the body, can help with posture.

Flexibility training

Stretching two or more days per week can be beneficial to maintain range of motion and posture. Holding each stretch of major muscle groups for 30 to 60 seconds can improve muscle length.

Balance and agility training

This type of training often combines aerobic exercise, strength training, and flexibility training. Examples include:

  • Dancing.
  • Tai chi, yoga or Pilates.

Are There Any Risks Of Exercising With Parkinsons Disease

Some symptoms, like Parkinson’s tremors, may seem worse during exercise. But exercise generally improves tremors and other symptoms in the long run.

Reduce challenges by stretching before and after exercise. Use good form to prevent injury. And avoid slippery floors, poor lighting and tripping hazards. If you have pain, stop and rest.

Pushing yourself too hard during exercise can lead to injury. Start slowly and increase intensity and duration over time. Keep a log to track your exercise choices and how you feel. Eventually, you’ll learn what works best for you.

If I Exercise Will I Still Need My Parkinsons Medications

Zac Blair holds off fellow Utahns to take Sand Hollow Open ...

Some people find that exercise helps them reduce the doses of Parkinson’s medications over time. But exercise is not a replacement for your medications. In fact, some people need more medications so they can stay active. Don’t make changes to your medications without talking to your healthcare providers.

A Day Of Golf Reveals Truths About Living With Parkinsons

On a beautiful Sunday afternoon in January, in sunny Florida, I climb aboard a golf cart with my cousin Barb for my first-ever golf lesson. I’m decked out in all new clothes: black Dockers, black T-shirt, a dark red button-down long-sleeved shirt, even a new belt. On my feet: new black leather tennis shoes. I’m doing my best to look like Tiger Woods in the final round of the Masters. As for my ability to actually play? Parkinson’s disease and golf, I think. What could go wrong?

Barb, who will be my guide for the day, is a true athlete. She learned the game from her father, a duffer with a keen eye for talent on the links. She’s also a born teacher and coach—just what I, a 52-year-old with hand tremors and an odd walk, need.

As we approach the first tee, I begin to wonder if I’ve made a mistake. I never wanted to play golf, at least not until my mid-30s, when Woods burst onto the scene. Like so many others, I was amazed by how far he took the game—and by his Zen-like approach. I was always interested in Zen Buddhism and had studied it enough to realize that Woods was not a Zen master—he showed too much emotion on the course for that—but he was pretty darn close. I wanted a glimpse into his world.

I take a deep breath and swing—and actually hit the ball. It even goes in the right direction, about 16 feet in front of me. I count that as one tiny victory.

It proves to be the first of several victories that day.

A Swing And A Hit Golf Beneficial In Parkinson’s Disease

Erik Greb

March 05, 2021

Playing golf improves mobility and balance in Parkinson’s disease better than tai chi, the gold standard exercise for improved balance and falls prevention in this patient population, early research suggests.

“We are optimistic that golf could be a good form of exercise therapy for Parkinson’s because participants in our study enjoyed learning golf and reported that they were more likely to continue the sport than the people in the tai chi arm,” Anne-Marie Wills, MD, MPH, a neurologist at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, told Medscape Medical News. “We know that exercise is underutilized by people with Parkinson’s disease, so finding an exercise that people will adhere to is one of our main goals as clinicians.”

The findings will be presented at the American Academy of Neurology 2021 Annual Meeting in April.

How Hard Should I Exercise If I Have Parkinson’s Disease

A rating of perceived exertion is a good way to measure intensity. On a scale from 0 to 10, 0 would be how you feel while sitting or lying down, while 10 would be the maximum effort you can give. Building up to an effort between 5 to 8 means you are exercising at a high intensity. A good gauge is, if you can have a conversation with someone while exercising, you should probably increase your intensity.

Neurological Symptoms Like Fatigue Common In Mild Covid

Good News: Parkinson

Other than muscle pain from golf, there was no difference between the two groups in the number of falls or other problems.

Funding: The study was supported by philanthropists Jim and Lucy Fox. Joe & Leigh’s Golf Performance Center in South Easton, Mass., provided free lessons to the golf participants.

A Swing And A Hit Golf May Help With Parkinson’s

March 8, 2021 — Playing golf improves mobility and balance in Parkinson’s disease better than tai chi, the gold standard exercise for improved balance and preventing falls, early research suggests.

“We are optimistic that golf could be a good form of exercise therapy for Parkinson’s because participants in our study enjoyed learning golf and reported that they were more likely to continue the sport than the people in the tai chi arm,” Anne-Marie Wills, MD, a neurologist at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, told Medscape. “We know that exercise is underutilized by people with Parkinson’s disease, so finding an exercise that people will adhere to is one of our main goals as clinicians.”

The findings will be presented at the American Academy of Neurology 2021 Annual Meeting in April.

The Challenges Of Parkinson’s & How Kiziks Help

Sometimes Parkinson’s disease can complicate the basic daily activities a person living with Parkinson’s once did easily, like bathing, dressing, eating, sleeping and even walking. Tremors, rigidity, and unbalance that often come with Parkinson’s can feel like a setback to a “normal” life. The truth is that the management of these symptoms is no simple task, that’s why we want to help remove one of the challenges they present.

Increased Pesticide Links To Parkinsons Disease

Studies have shown that certain pesticides can increase people’s risk of developing Parkinson’s disease. Now, UCLA researchers have found that the strength of the risk depends on an individual’s genetic makeup, which, in the most pesticide-exposed populations, could increase a person’s chance of developing the debilitating disease two-to-six fold.

  Illustration: David Blattel

In an earlier study, the UCLA team discovered a link between Parkinson’s and the pesticide benomyl, a fungicide that has been banned by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. That study found that benomyl prevents the enzyme aldehyde dehydrogenase from converting aldehydes — organic compounds that are highly toxic to dopamine cells in the brain — into less-toxic agents, thereby contributing to the risk of Parkinson’s. For the current study, UCLA researchers tested a number of additional pesticides and found 11 that also inhibit ALDH and increase the risk of Parkinson’s — and at levels much lower than they are currently being used.

“Aldehyde dehydrogenase variation enhances effect of pesticides associated with Parkinson disease,” Neurology, February 4, 2014


Bodily And Psychological Well Being Advantages

Par for Parkinson

On one measure, the interventions’ results on mobility have been considerably completely different. Efficiency on the TUG improved by 0.96 seconds in sufferers who golfed however worsened by 0.33 seconds in sufferers who participated in tai chi .

Participant satisfaction with the assigned exercise was comparable between teams. But 86% of golfers reported that they have been “positively” more likely to proceed the exercise, in contrast with 33% of tai chi individuals.

There was no distinction between teams when it comes to adversarial occasions, apart from muscle ache within the golf group. There was no distinction in falls between teams.

“Getting sufferers outside and exercising needs to be good for psychological well being as nicely, though we didn’t measure that in our research,” mentioned Wills. “Golf can also be an amazing sport for proper now, throughout the pandemic, as a result of it’s an outside sport and could be performed safely with correct precautions.”

The investigators intend to conduct a bigger randomized research of golf in sufferers with Parkinson’s illness to verify their findings.

“A multicenter scientific trial to see if golf truly slows down illness development can be preferrred,” mentioned Wills. “At a minimal, we hope to persuade different golf facilities to supply free instruction to folks with Parkinson’s.”

What Is The Best Diet For Parkinson’s Disease It is recommended that people with Parkinson’s disease drink plenty of water throughout the day.

The best diet for Parkinson’s disease is similar to the best diet for most people, which includes eating lots of fresh fruit and vegetables, preferring fish and dairy protein to meat, and eating whole grain foods. No specific diet has consistently been recommended for those with Parkinson’s disease. That said, people with Parkinson’s disease may benefit from some dietary changes.

Stem cell research has shown promise for treating Parkinson’s disease.

Parkinson’s disease is caused by increasing damage to the brains cells that produce dopamine. Dopamine is a chemical messenger that is necessary for making smooth, controlled movements, among other things. The decrease in dopamine results the most familiar symptoms of Parkinson’s disease, including tremors and a shuffling gait. The dopamine deficit at the root of Parkinson’s disease cannot be treated by diet alone. Eating healthy foods, though, along with beneficial fats from nuts and legumes, will supply adequate nutrition.

Individuals suffering from Parkinson’s disease may experience an impaired ability to walk. Fatty fish like sardines are good for people with Parkinson’s. Parkinson’s disease is caused by increasing damage to the brains cells that produce dopamine. Salmon is a good source of Vitamin D.

Increased Stress Can Lead To More Tough Days

Currently, in California, we are under increasing stress as our governor places more restrictions on us almost daily. In addition, the continuing political unrest in the US seems to be spiraling out of control in some cities. Here at home, after 6 weeks of helicopters overhead and sirens blaring on a daily basis, at times many of us feel like we are in a war zone. PTSD anyone? It certainly seems like it could be.

So those random days when you just know you should not get out of bed start to make more sense. Sunday was one of those days for me. I could feel it before I even got out of bed that morning. I was stiff and just felt off. My tremors were worse than usual and clearly were going to be with me all day.

I struggled through my online yoga class one Sunday morning. It was hard to concentrate on pretty much everything I tried to do all day. Late afternoon, Mr. Twitchy and I had planned to play 9 holes of golf. I got a new set of clubs on Thursday to replace my pre-industrial revolution clubs I had been using for so long. These new clubs were supposed to make me a superwoman on the golf course, so I was looking forward to this.

Playing Golf With Parkinson’s Disease Last Reply

Does anyone have and experience, advice or knowledge about playing golf with Parkinson’s Disease?

I’ve always been a high handicapper since taking up the game at the age of fifty some fourteen years ago, but this year my golf performance has declined dramatically. This downturn has coincided with a diagnosis of Parkinson’s which I was given at the start of the year; but I genuinely don’t know if it is the Parkison’s or the fear of Parkinson’s which is most affecting my game.

I have no problems as yet ‘staying the course’, i.e walking the eighteen holes on my hilly downland course . And I’m okay, if short, with my driver off the tee. But my swing with my mid irons is very unreliable and any ‘touch’ or ‘feel’ I might once have had in my short game has disappeared.

In recent weeks I’ve come very close to putting away my golf bag for good, but I’d really like to carry on a while longer, and my specialist is urging me to keep going as the exercise can only do me good.

Any tips, thoughts, expertise out there?

Thanks for your response, Brigitte, but I regret I don’t speak German. I think I’ve caught the meaning of ‘meine langen nicht meir’, though.

Roughly translated

Hi chris, had the same problem. Never give up the golf game. improve your short game.Have had for 4 years Parkinson I’ve deteriorated since last season. I have no length.I look forward to more informationBrigitte

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My Husband And Golf: Francescas Story

Golf And Parkinson’s: A Game For Life – Journey with ...

Francesca’s husband, John, was an avid golfer who adapted his golf as a result of Parkinson’s. After a nasty injury on the course, it was through John’s recovery that they both saw golf is about someone’s ability, not their disability.

John always loved golf. Not in a low handicap, Rory McIlroy, fiercely competitive sort of way – but because it took him out in the fresh air with friends. It gave him exercise, enjoyment, and purpose.

He’d played on and off for years, and when we moved to Cornwall in 2004, he joined a family-owned club at Radnor, just outside Redruth.

The club, of course, has its excellent players, but all abilities peacefully co-exist here, and John spent many happy hours on its sea breezy course.

Golf And Parkinsons: A Game For Life

“One of the most fascinating things about golf is how it reflects the cycle of life. No matter what you shoot – the next day you have to go back to the first tee and begin all over again and make yourself into something.” Peter Jacobsen

Précis: The goals are to describe the overall benefits of exercise to our health, the neuroprotective effects of exercise in treating Parkinson’s, and to highlight the game of golf for exercise .

Introduction:  If you’ve been following this blog, you already know how much I value exercise.  If this is your first visit, it’s really simple; any kind of exercise is a wonderful way to feel better, maintain your health, and to have a lot of fun. And if you’re lucky, exercising outside offers even more benefits.  With the backdrop of having Parkinson’s, exercise is essential for living-forward and for maintaining a grip on the miniscule progression of this disorder.

“Golf is a science, the study of a lifetime, in which you can exhaust yourself but never your subject.”  David Forgan 

Benefits of Exercise: One of the healthiest things you can do is exercise , and every day if possible! The Mayo Clinic gives 7 benefits of regular physical activity : #1, exercise controls weight; #2, exercise combats health conditions and diseases; #3, exercise improves mood; #4, exercise boosts energy; #5, exercise promotes better sleep; #6, exercise puts the spark back into your sex life; and #7, exercise can be fun.

Below are pictures of several of my ‘golf buddies’ .

Trying To Play Golf With Parkinson’s

Before I go on, I want to make it clear that I have been a life long tennis player and rarely played golf more than 3-4 times a year, much to Mr. Twitchy’s dismay. Golf was frustrating for me. As one golf instructor told me, I was swinging the golf club like a tennis racket. That doesn’t work in golf. This year, because tennis was not an option for so long, once our club re-opened the golf course, Mr. Twitchy saw the opportunity to get me on the golf course. We started playing 9 holes in the late afternoon a couple of days a week.

Getting out on the golf course a couple of days a week definitely helped me hit the ball better and more consistently, that is, until Sunday. I started out ok, but it was clear that my tremors were going to be with me the whole time. Sure enough, it got worse and worse. I could hardly hit the ball. We finally gave up after 8 holes. I just could not go on anymore.

The tremors lingered another day. Two days later, I was feeling much better. Hopefully my next outing on the golf course will be more successful.

Physical And Mental Health Benefits

On one measure, the different activities’ effects on mobility were significantly different. Performance improved by in patients who played golf but worsened in patients who participated in tai chi.

Participant satisfaction with the assigned activity was similar. Yet 86% of golfers reported that they were “definitely” likely to continue the activity, compared with 33% of tai chi participants.

Golf is popular #sports for people over the age of 55. We decided to compare #golf to tai chi in our study because tai chi is the gold standard for balance and preventing falls in people with #Parkinson’s.

— Amit Chaudhari March 8, 2021

There was no difference between groups in terms of adverse events, with the exception of muscle pain in the golf group. There was no difference in falls between groups.

“Getting patients outdoors and exercising should be good for mental health as well, although we did not measure that in our study,” said Wills. “Golf is also a great sport for right now, during the pandemic, because it is an outdoor sport and can be played safely with proper precautions.”

The investigators intend to conduct a larger randomized study of golf in patients with Parkinson’s disease to confirm their findings.

“At a minimum, we are hoping to convince other golf centers to provide free instruction to people with Parkinson’s,” Wills said.

Adapting His Golf To Parkinsons

This is my good friend Bob. He has Parkinson

John was diagnosed with Parkinson’s about 7 years ago, in his early seventies. For a while it didn’t affect his golf too noticeably. When his clubs felt too heavy to carry he bought an electric trolley, and when just walking 9 holes began to tire him, he progressed to a buggy. Both were invaluable in helping prolong his golf activity.  

Tremors can make balancing a ball on a tee quite tricky, but friends and fellow players were happy to help out when he got shaky. Bending over to retrieve a ball was also sometimes difficult as the condition also affected his balance. 

He had several falls on the course and escaped relatively unhurt because of the soft grass. But one afternoon he tripped backwards down a rabbit hole, broke his shoulder, and was very ill for several months.

He was so immobilised and disturbed by the whole experience that he virtually stopped playing golf even when his shoulder had mended.

Value A Potential Barrier

“This research, although small, means that people are more likely to proceed with golf,” mentioned Larson. “It is very important have quite a lot of train choices to supply to sufferers as nicely, as their curiosity within the train will guarantee their dedication to it, so including golf to this checklist can be helpful.”

Future analysis ought to assess whether or not entry to golf is a barrier to sustaining this exercise for sufferers with Parkinson’s illness.

“On this research, golf was provided freed from price. Nonetheless, golf usually might be a pricey exercise vs tai chi, which could be performed at house,” mentioned Larson. “Along with potential socioeconomic obstacles, there could also be logistical obstacles, corresponding to location relative to the golf course, or cultural obstacles to golf participation that needs to be explored in future analysis.”

The research was funded by Jim and Lucy Fox. Wills and Larson have disclosed no related monetary relationships.

American Academy of Neurology 2021 Annual Assembly: Summary 1962. To be introduced April 2021.

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Cost A Potential Barrier

Danielle Larson, MD, a movement disorders specialist at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago, Illinois, said golf could improve symptoms because it’s already a hobby for many people in the age range of patients with Parkinson’s. Unlike tai chi, golf involves walking, which provides additional benefit, Larson, who was not involved in the study, said..

“This study, though small, suggests that individuals are likely to continue with golf,” said Larson. “It is important to have a variety of exercise options to offer to patients as well, as their interest in the exercise will ensure their commitment to it, so adding golf to this list would be beneficial.”

Future research should look at whether the cost to play, as well as to buy equipment, is a barrier for some patients with Parkinson’s disease.

“In this study, golf was offered free of cost. However, golf typically could be a costly activity vs tai chi, which can be done at home,” said Larson. “In addition to potential socioeconomic barriers, there may be logistical barriers, such as location relative to the golf course, or cultural barriers to golf participation that should be explored in future research.”

Golf Helps My Parkinsons

Young golfer finds exercise helps him with his symptoms

Keen local amateur golfer, Ronan Coyle, first noticed Parkinson’s symptoms at 24 but was only diagnosed six years later at the age of 30. 

Far from putting him off the game, Ronan, now 37, has found playing golf helps him overcome his symptoms. He is now using the game as a fundraiser for the first “Par for Parkinson’s” event taking place at the City of Derry Golf Club on Sunday 15 September

The civil servant’s story shows how difficult it was to get neurologists to consider that he could have Parkinson’s at such a young age. 

“I visited two neurologists in my mid to late 20s and both of them said there was nothing wrong with me, just a bit of a tremor,” said Ronan.

“So when the third neurologist I saw said I had Parkinson’s, while it wasn’t the news I wanted to hear, it was something of a relief to know what was wrong with me.

“Like many people, initially I didn’t know much about the condition and I didn’t want to either. I didn’t want to google it, talk about it or do any research in case I found out something horrible.

“However, once I understood there was a lot more to it than shaking, and specifically that exercising regularly helps with the condition, my attitude changed. That is why it is vital that people living with the condition get information and support from Parkinson’s UK.

“I want people to know it is not all gloom and doom. You learn to appreciate the simple things and you find ways to adapt.


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