5 Neuroscience Breakthroughs that will IMPROVE YOUR LIFE!

  • By dlrdigitalmedia
  • 14 Sep, 2016

1.       BECOME MORE ALERT AND CREATIVE

Love and Life - Brain Energetics
Neuroscience has the unique ability to influence a lot of what we do every day and affect our outlook on how we see the world. How can we identify these benefits and use them to our benefit every time we step outside? Can we use this science to help MOTIVATE us to leave our home and be productive? Because neuroscience studies the nervous system, it helps give us insight into the chemistry of our body, how we speak, heal, even how we think and perceive!

1. BECOME MORE ALERT AND CREATIVE

Forget “left brain-right brain.” Studies in neuroscience promotes that the cerebellum (that means “Little Brain” in Latin) is incredibly important in creativity. Originally only associated with coordination and muscle memory, it’s been found that by thinking too much about any given subject decreases one’s ability to be creative. Using results from an MRI machine, it was found that trying to understand difficult words lit up the left prefrontal cortex. And in another study, a high level of creativity was shown to go hand in hand with lower left prefrontal cortex activity and higher cerebellum readings.

So how can we nurture our cerebellum? Well, our brain communicates with neurons to transmit bits of information. If they remain unstimulated, problems begin occurring such as patterns of behavioral problems associated with ADHD. How do we stimulate them and decrease negative results? Doing something as simple and deliberate as standing on a board and balancing yourself can actually help to drastically light up your neuron activity. Want to further challenge the ol’ cerebellum? Recite the alphabet at the same time you’re balancing. There seems to be a very direct relation with body movement and mental reasoning and doing both activities at the same time can help the physical or mental side of your brain play “catch-up.” I guess yoga practitioners have a “leg up” on those that don’t practice!

2. ENJOY MORE CONSISTENT PERSONAL DRIVE

Have you ever felt life you were more tired than other people? Maybe you’ve felt life you had more energy than others instead? How well you enjoy consistent energy doesn’t just affect your body, but your sense of purpose; your reason for existence. How you are “wired” is something that people usually take for granted. “I’m just like that, get used to it!” Fortunately, the brain is elastic and changing how we think is something that can be done! Furthermore, creating the right connections on our brain can lead to a better understanding, and an increased drive…more ambition! Studies have indicated that the part of your brain that thinks functionally needs to have a strong connection with the part that anticipates thoughts and reactions (also responsible for apathy and is associated with depression). The former has the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) to be responsible for, and is hugely associated with socially positive concepts like empathy and gratitude. Interestingly, there have also been studies on decreasing pain being linked to this same part of the brain.

So how do you feed your ACC so you can start feeling motivated and use that to improve your life? Meditating helps. Taking time out of your day to think and work out negative stressors in a calm and relaxed state of mind. Taking time to become aware of what’s in your life and allowing yourself to react to it. What you are really doing is allowing your brain’s neurons to create pathways that “connect the dots” and cause new associations to be formed that create answers to your fears and worries. Meditation slows down all other parts of the brain and allows only what you want to focus on to bubble to the top of your head. Think of your brain as a highway. You can’t do roadwork on a major highway or build new branching roads during rush-hour!

3. DOES IT HURT? THIS CAN HELP!

“No pain, no gain”…right? While going through tough times in one’s life certainly helps toughen one up (Here’s another one, the old’ “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” cliché!), there are ways to block out pain almost entirely, using only the power of your MIND. Pain is a perception of a neurological response that travels through your nervous system. Whether you’re an athlete running a marathon or you experience chronic pain from an old war injury, studies are cropping up that actually help us manage all kinds of pain without tearing up your stomach lining swallowing Ibuprofen for long periods of time. There are two ways the brain helps you experience pain. Your nervous system transmits a signal from the brain through nerve endings (which also respond to the intensity of the pain) and the medial prefrontal cortex, helped by the nucleus accumbens, define these said signals. This might sound odd or even simple, but if you can train these parts of your brain to define these signals as something else (like pleasure), you can keep running that marathon while relishing in “the burn.”

How does one trick the brain like this? By focusing on your painful stimuli, and imagining it as a positive thing. When you’re running, instead of thinking about all the lactic acid that is building up, or creating images of your legs falling off, think of your muscles experiencing an increased blood flow and imagining those muscles getting bigger and stronger. By using simple thought associations, can one can literally teach themselves to value the painful stimuli as something positive and possible productive.

4. DO YOU KNOW OF ANYONE THAT SUFFERS AUTISM?

Our friend the cerebellum makes its triumphant return here. When this guy becomes mutated or damaged, it usually goes hand in hand with key autistic symptoms. Taking too long for an autistic person’s brain to think through a stimulus is common. So are social and repetitive behaviors. These issues usually crop up at the same time as sensory issues…or, the ability to comprehend multiple sensory stimuli at once (sights, sounds and touch are some examples). Individuals that suffer from autism actually have trouble anticipating someone’s touch, for example, and this action can often take them by surprise.

The good news is that this is just another case of associations. If the brain can’t be trusted to react appropriately, it’s up to the individual to force that association. By practicing reacting to certain stimuli that tends to be unpleasant for the individual, they can build up their connection to that stimuli and become much more able and willing to, say, receive a hug or even a tap on the shoulder.

5. CHANGE YOUR BRAIN FOR BETTER (OR WORSE?)

This one covers a fantastic theory; The Law of Attraction and how your brain responds to a desired way of thinking. Do you want to be less nervous? By thinking positive thoughts, studies have actually proven shown anxiety levels drastically drop in the individual being tested. There’s a part of your brain that is located behind your eyeballs that is regularly associated with nervous disorders. It literally controls your behavior! The smaller this part of the brain is (the orbitofrontal cortex), the more likely an individual is to experience lack of anxiety control. If this cortex is exercised however, studies have actually been correlated to increased positive thinking and a calmer demeanor. If something happened to you in your past, and you haven’t processed through it yet, that stress literally shrinks your orbitofrontal cortex and causes symptoms like constant nervousness and even links to depression. Soldiers that come back from war usually have this part of their brain looking like a shriveled raisin, so shrunken it’s almost unrecognizable. This is of course associated with extreme cases of PTSD.

The answer to fighting this negativity and nervousness is actually fairly simple. One must consciously choose not to let negative thinking leave one’s brain. Never intentionally showing nervousness or fear can actually go a long way into helping to trick one’s own brain into behaving more normally. If you go to the movie theater with a friend, yet you are afraid of the noise of popping popcorn, putting oneself into their friend’s shoes and watching them stand next to the popping machine while remaining unaffected can go a long way to training one’s brain to banish fear and anxiety and to stop and smell the roses.

I hope you found this list useful and interesting. Just remember the common theme. It’s all in your head! Your brain can become more positive, more creative, regulate your pain, help you become more ambitious and even help those afflicted with autism. The only thing you have to do is ACT against what makes you unhappy and if needed, go find help on exactly how to guide your energy along your nervous system to where you want it to go. There are so many new studies finding new ways to interact with your nervous system. Do some research and enjoy the discovery!

The Brain Blog

By dlrdigitalmedia 22 Sep, 2016

Written by  Steven Giammarco

For Brain Energetics

Are we aware and conscious enough to know what’s right in front of us? Or is God separate from us? Maybe we created the idea of him, and God exists as our own image or maybe it’s the other way around…

The brain doesn’t know the difference between what it sees in its environment and what it remembers, because the same neurons are firing. All ideas are conceived in our perception and all are interwoven through the same thought processes confined in the space that is our brain. This is an idea that I brought forth in the last article that outlines how most everything that we know is formed inside our brain, without a lot of help from the information that our senses give us. We create models of how we view the world, but after all the external information is relayed back to the brain and then filtered, the model simply becomes refined. The information becomes a story that we tell our brain, which is colored by our emotions and thoughts and preconceived notions. If you are constantly suffering, this suffering becomes associated more strongly with all of the other thoughts inside your brain and thus, you become more and more a product of your suffering. This becomes your identity. If you don’t reinforce certain thoughts in your brain, your nerve endings in your brain break contact and their relationship becomes interrupted and eliminated from your perception. This also means that if you think positively, but it’s not really positive because you’re consumed by an entire mass of negative thoughts, then the positive thoughts are just disguised negative thoughts.

So is it God who created your perception and all of your negativity and positivity, or is our awareness what God actually is? Is your identity (how your brain retains and filters its information) where God actually comes from? The truth is. It’s impossible to KNOW what God is for sure, since we simply aren’t AWARE enough to comprehend it. Realistically, we must transcend what we are aware of right now to even begin to take steps into finding out what the idea of God really means.

Your brain controls your addictions. What are they really? A simple definition of an addiction is something that you can’t stop because you just can’t help yourself. Your brain creates bridges to certain areas of your brain to reinforce what you need. That’s why associations are born. That’s why when something happens to frighten you, your first reaction might be to get angry in order to resist it. Your brain as created a bridge (an ASSOCIATION) to the part that says fear and the part that reacts to it with anger. Consider when the last time you had an emotional outburst was. Didn’t you feel some sort of compulsion that drove you toward saying the last word or simply to raise your voice to get your point across? Do you remember pushing that fine line of emotional balance when you just HAD to get that next sentence off your own enflamed chest? If you can’t control your emotional state, you must be addicted to it! We act out because we create situations that meet our chemical needs, even if it’s because we wine and cry. We instigate the bad situation to get more of a rush of what we need chemically, even if it’s lashing out with more anger. What is love? Is it just that someone is in love with the emotions that come along with the feeling of love that causes them to want to be close to someone? How about altruism? “There’s no such thing as true altruism,” we’ve heard that all before. Is it because we’ve associated our actions to whatever makes us feel good that creates the best things in life? Does that mean greed is good? Those are some heavy questions, but my personal recommendation? Life is a balance!  

So after relating emotions to an addiction so heavily, does that mean emotions are inherently bad? Or do they just define the richness of life? Maybe it’s just the addiction (lack of control) that is bad. When we lose complete control and give into our addictions, we strengthen the associations that were created. Our mind creates our body. How we think we look becomes how we look. The cells literally receive signals from your brain before they divide and shape themselves in the manner that our brain tells them. Arguably, aging is the product of years of emotional abuse. It’s up to us to move to a new pattern of thinking. If emotional addictions are there because we don’t dream outside of what we think our limitations are, then that is because no one has ever taught us what our potential is. You must create associations with what you WANT your identity to be. If you do not take this action of self-discovery, then you’ve made an insignificant attempt to gain the knowledge and information that will inspire you. Have you made this effort and still don’t know your identity? Then your efforts were simply an insignificant attempt. Our mission is to resist being jaded by media and our environment, forcing us to conform, and instead rise above our own expectations. The key is to use your ideas of success to “get by” in this world just enough to support your ambitions to experiment and flirt with who you REALLY want to be. The only thing stopping us from transcending our own limitations are the addictions that we’ve become accustomed to and the fear of the chemical withdrawal of losing those addictions.

The only way to overcome addiction these addictions is to change the associations we make in our mind. Where do you start? Imagine looking at yourself through the eyes of God or a presence that can analyze you without its own addictions and perceptions weighing them down; a sort of “ultimate observer.” This will help you become more objective and less biased. This is the path to becoming more conscious.

Consciousness is the foundation of our being. We must find a way to pursue knowledge without any interference of our addictions, and only then will we will have the ability to comprehend more than what we think is our current potential. Is the idea of Heaven the concept of complete control of our surrounds and feelings and ideas? When we are able to take the chaotic energy around us and mold it into a form and call it matter, will we become Gods?

              These ideas are here to challenge your usual way of thinking to push the boundaries of your consciousness. Only then can we help each other walk the path of enlightenment or as I like to call it, “self-betterment.” It all might be just IN YOUR HEAD , but no one ever said we couldn’t help each other rise above what we think is in there in the first place. Keep up with me next time when we focus on how to be better people, and how to overcome what holds us back!

By dlrdigitalmedia 14 Sep, 2016

Last week’s article highlighted how neuroscience can influence how we act and how it affects our outlook on life. If you want to get some tips on how to be more creative, how to stay motivated, and even CONTROL PAIN, check it out! Now are you ready for some more awesome associations that can directly impact how you live and FEEL every day? Like last time, let’s identify these benefits and use them to better ourselves! Let’s learn to use this science to help us control depression, become more kind, and bridge the gap between those crazies from Mars and those strangers from Venus! How? Because neuroscience studies the nervous system, and that controls the information to your brain. That’s a lot of responsibility!

 

6.       The Neuroscience of kindness

Say “Thank you.” (and mean it), and karma might just be returned to you. New science dives deeper into the meaning of being gracious and kind. In fact, it states that a small act of kindness triggers a neurobiological Ferris wheel in your brain that causes good things to keep happening in a big loop. When you give, it feels good. When you GET, it also feels good. When you give, it not only INSPIRES people to be generous as well, but the feeling of giving becomes reinforced in your mind and actually causes an increase in thankfulness!

This idea even goes so far as to counter the “survivor” or “lone wolf” theory that suggests that the strongest will always have more than others. Instead, the act of giving becomes contagious, and actually reinforces a SOCIETAL mentality that states that there is strength in numbers and that it is GOOD and NATURAL to care for your neighbor. Interestingly, there were studies done that track the brain’s activities as the participants receive gifts. The areas that light up are in the prefrontal and anterior cortex, which are areas known for rewards, morality, decision-making and fairness. These are all natural feelings that reinforce social behavior. This means that being social is in our biology and are a significant part of how we’ve survived for so long. Next time your neighbor needs some milk, give ‘em some sugar while you’re at it. Your kindness might grow exponentially and be returned to you in short time!

7.       Stay Healthy, Stay NeuroHappy

How do you keep your brain (the thing that uses your nervous system to control your entire body) healthy? Well, what do you think of if I told you to go adopt healthy habits? Eat right? Exercise? Those things are just for your body right? What if those things had a direct impact on your brain as well? A neurological study has highlighted that your brain’s performance (and matter) increases the more physically fit the individual is. This means their brains work better and have more potential for what we need in every day modern society, creativity and multitasking abilities! In fact, the more physically fit you are, the better oxygen your organs (yes, including your brain) receive. This directly affects the brain’s AGING as well as its capabilities.

To find this out, researchers grabbed one hundred adults older in age and used a fancy Wii remote to measure the physical activity of these participants over seven days. Participants had oxygen levels tracked as well as the amount of matter the brain showed. If Grey Matter houses the vehicles that transmit data through your nervous system, then White Matter is the highway. Participants that were more active showed much better oxygen circulation and a whole lot more “highway” than their lazier counterparts! If that isn’t motivation for a healthier lifestyle, I don’t know what is!

8.       Don’t let depression hold you down!

Don’t feel like getting out of bed in the morning? Don’t know how to fight it? Let’s understand why so we can DO SOMETHING about it! We talked in a previous article how meditation can actually boost creativity and motivation. Don’t have time to meditate? Find somewhere quiet for a certain amount of time each day to just think through anything and everything. How does that help you get out of bed? The brain waves that are activated by meditation have been found to correlate with not only an improved capacity to be creative, but lower stress as well! These electrical brain waves that hold so much power over you actually control the release of chemicals that make you feel good (such as dopamine and endorphins).

What comes from letting more of these waves out to do their job? The result of this electrical communication is literally your feelings and control how you behave. When you are depressed, your thoughts are being restricted, constricting these electrical currents. Thinking at a lower (more calm) frequency and letting more thoughts bubble and ease their way across your brain can literally change your outlook on life, so the next time you don’t feel like getting out of bed, sit down, puff your chest out (to increase oxygen) and let the thoughts flow through you.

9.       Put yourself in their shoes. Understanding=less stress

It’s so tempting to think about those “rich people” or those “poor people” being the cause of all of the world’s problems. It causes fear, anxiety and even hatred! Racial problems anyone? No Bueno! The greatest thing about neuroscience? It shows how similar we are to each other, and how easy it can be to commune with each other. We can actually neurobiologically teach ourselves to relate to others, a study highlights. Findings reveal universal truths between you and your fellow man (or woman) that when understood, actually decreases conflict and fear. What is the act of relating to your neighbor? It’s actually your brain LEARNING. When it learns about an unknown, the idea is shelved and releases chemicals that comfort us. This reaction is what we call EMPATHY. What happens when we learn about an unknown? We begin to RELATE to it, thus enabling a pathway for compassion.

The study that describes this reaction took participants and zapped their hands. They were then told that a member from another group could give money to stop the participant’s suffering (Jeezus…Joker conundrum anyone?). What happened was that the part of the brain known for empathy slowly lit up every time a stranger spared them from pain. The stronger the zap (and being spared from another zap afterwards) the faster and louder that empathetic part of the brain responded. Soon, the entire group surrounding the participant that was getting shocked had a better appreciation for the stranger in the other group. So not only was empathy triggered in one person, it was contagious! Now go out and learn something about someone or group of someone’s that makes you nervous. It might just be a game changer.

10.   Mars and Venus, is there a difference?

Would it surprise you that a male and female brain are incredibly similar? Before in-depth study, casual observations told scientists that how well an individual remembers something (as well as spatial skills) differ between men and women. The hippocampus would be the culprit, so that means one hippocampus would be larger than the other right? Actually…not at all! One would think that one’s capacity for emotion, being social and how well one remembers something that was said (traditionally believed that women are better than men at these things) would show some sort of difference in either side of the hippocampus, but the more data that is gathered, the differences become insignificant or completely non-existent. One thing that IS consistent is that the more fit an individual is, the larger their hippocampus is, REGARDLESS of their sex. I guess that means we’ll have to find out why men tend to “go to Jupiter to get more stupider” and women “go to college to get more knowledge” (I couldn’t resist) through some other means. Maybe it’s Jupiter’s atmosphere?

 

Another list come and gone and what fun it is to explore why the world is how it is through our own perceptions. As always, I hope you found this list useful and interesting and remember our theme. It’s all in your head! Your brain can control your happiness, pull you out of depression, make you happy, and make you less stressed! It just can’t yet explain why women will eventually rule the world, but when men discover the secret, we might just stand a chance!...to become smart enough to flee. I kid, I kid! Now let’s ACT to keep our brains on a positive track! Knowledge is power, and it’s fun!

 

By dlrdigitalmedia 14 Sep, 2016
Neuroscience has the unique ability to influence a lot of what we do every day and affect our outlook on how we see the world. How can we identify these benefits and use them to our benefit every time we step outside? Can we use this science to help MOTIVATE us to leave our home and be productive? Because neuroscience studies the nervous system, it helps give us insight into the chemistry of our body, how we speak, heal, even how we think and perceive!

1. BECOME MORE ALERT AND CREATIVE

Forget “left brain-right brain.” Studies in neuroscience promotes that the cerebellum (that means “Little Brain” in Latin) is incredibly important in creativity. Originally only associated with coordination and muscle memory, it’s been found that by thinking too much about any given subject decreases one’s ability to be creative. Using results from an MRI machine, it was found that trying to understand difficult words lit up the left prefrontal cortex. And in another study, a high level of creativity was shown to go hand in hand with lower left prefrontal cortex activity and higher cerebellum readings.

So how can we nurture our cerebellum? Well, our brain communicates with neurons to transmit bits of information. If they remain unstimulated, problems begin occurring such as patterns of behavioral problems associated with ADHD. How do we stimulate them and decrease negative results? Doing something as simple and deliberate as standing on a board and balancing yourself can actually help to drastically light up your neuron activity. Want to further challenge the ol’ cerebellum? Recite the alphabet at the same time you’re balancing. There seems to be a very direct relation with body movement and mental reasoning and doing both activities at the same time can help the physical or mental side of your brain play “catch-up.” I guess yoga practitioners have a “leg up” on those that don’t practice!

2. ENJOY MORE CONSISTENT PERSONAL DRIVE

Have you ever felt life you were more tired than other people? Maybe you’ve felt life you had more energy than others instead? How well you enjoy consistent energy doesn’t just affect your body, but your sense of purpose; your reason for existence. How you are “wired” is something that people usually take for granted. “I’m just like that, get used to it!” Fortunately, the brain is elastic and changing how we think is something that can be done! Furthermore, creating the right connections on our brain can lead to a better understanding, and an increased drive…more ambition! Studies have indicated that the part of your brain that thinks functionally needs to have a strong connection with the part that anticipates thoughts and reactions (also responsible for apathy and is associated with depression). The former has the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) to be responsible for, and is hugely associated with socially positive concepts like empathy and gratitude. Interestingly, there have also been studies on decreasing pain being linked to this same part of the brain.

So how do you feed your ACC so you can start feeling motivated and use that to improve your life? Meditating helps. Taking time out of your day to think and work out negative stressors in a calm and relaxed state of mind. Taking time to become aware of what’s in your life and allowing yourself to react to it. What you are really doing is allowing your brain’s neurons to create pathways that “connect the dots” and cause new associations to be formed that create answers to your fears and worries. Meditation slows down all other parts of the brain and allows only what you want to focus on to bubble to the top of your head. Think of your brain as a highway. You can’t do roadwork on a major highway or build new branching roads during rush-hour!

3. DOES IT HURT? THIS CAN HELP!

“No pain, no gain”…right? While going through tough times in one’s life certainly helps toughen one up (Here’s another one, the old’ “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” cliché!), there are ways to block out pain almost entirely, using only the power of your MIND. Pain is a perception of a neurological response that travels through your nervous system. Whether you’re an athlete running a marathon or you experience chronic pain from an old war injury, studies are cropping up that actually help us manage all kinds of pain without tearing up your stomach lining swallowing Ibuprofen for long periods of time. There are two ways the brain helps you experience pain. Your nervous system transmits a signal from the brain through nerve endings (which also respond to the intensity of the pain) and the medial prefrontal cortex, helped by the nucleus accumbens, define these said signals. This might sound odd or even simple, but if you can train these parts of your brain to define these signals as something else (like pleasure), you can keep running that marathon while relishing in “the burn.”

How does one trick the brain like this? By focusing on your painful stimuli, and imagining it as a positive thing. When you’re running, instead of thinking about all the lactic acid that is building up, or creating images of your legs falling off, think of your muscles experiencing an increased blood flow and imagining those muscles getting bigger and stronger. By using simple thought associations, can one can literally teach themselves to value the painful stimuli as something positive and possible productive.

4. DO YOU KNOW OF ANYONE THAT SUFFERS AUTISM?

Our friend the cerebellum makes its triumphant return here. When this guy becomes mutated or damaged, it usually goes hand in hand with key autistic symptoms. Taking too long for an autistic person’s brain to think through a stimulus is common. So are social and repetitive behaviors. These issues usually crop up at the same time as sensory issues…or, the ability to comprehend multiple sensory stimuli at once (sights, sounds and touch are some examples). Individuals that suffer from autism actually have trouble anticipating someone’s touch, for example, and this action can often take them by surprise.

The good news is that this is just another case of associations. If the brain can’t be trusted to react appropriately, it’s up to the individual to force that association. By practicing reacting to certain stimuli that tends to be unpleasant for the individual, they can build up their connection to that stimuli and become much more able and willing to, say, receive a hug or even a tap on the shoulder.

5. CHANGE YOUR BRAIN FOR BETTER (OR WORSE?)

This one covers a fantastic theory; The Law of Attraction and how your brain responds to a desired way of thinking. Do you want to be less nervous? By thinking positive thoughts, studies have actually proven shown anxiety levels drastically drop in the individual being tested. There’s a part of your brain that is located behind your eyeballs that is regularly associated with nervous disorders. It literally controls your behavior! The smaller this part of the brain is (the orbitofrontal cortex), the more likely an individual is to experience lack of anxiety control. If this cortex is exercised however, studies have actually been correlated to increased positive thinking and a calmer demeanor. If something happened to you in your past, and you haven’t processed through it yet, that stress literally shrinks your orbitofrontal cortex and causes symptoms like constant nervousness and even links to depression. Soldiers that come back from war usually have this part of their brain looking like a shriveled raisin, so shrunken it’s almost unrecognizable. This is of course associated with extreme cases of PTSD.

The answer to fighting this negativity and nervousness is actually fairly simple. One must consciously choose not to let negative thinking leave one’s brain. Never intentionally showing nervousness or fear can actually go a long way into helping to trick one’s own brain into behaving more normally. If you go to the movie theater with a friend, yet you are afraid of the noise of popping popcorn, putting oneself into their friend’s shoes and watching them stand next to the popping machine while remaining unaffected can go a long way to training one’s brain to banish fear and anxiety and to stop and smell the roses.

I hope you found this list useful and interesting. Just remember the common theme. It’s all in your head! Your brain can become more positive, more creative, regulate your pain, help you become more ambitious and even help those afflicted with autism. The only thing you have to do is ACT against what makes you unhappy and if needed, go find help on exactly how to guide your energy along your nervous system to where you want it to go. There are so many new studies finding new ways to interact with your nervous system. Do some research and enjoy the discovery!
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