Tag Archives | menopause blog

Natural Balancing Creams from Kokoro (and a fine Fine Line Reducer)

Kokoro Health was kind enough to send some samples of their natural hormone balancing creams for us to try. Their products are new to us, but they’ve been around for 20 years. We are glad we know about them now.

One of our satellite goddesses tried the Balance Creme Natural Progesterone and loved it. She is sleeping better and suffering fewer hot flashes.

Since much of the Big M is thankfully in my rear view mirror, I opted to try the Platinum FLS Fine Line Support. I REALLY love this. Of course, as I am of a certain vintage, I already use Vitamin C serum and a moisturizer. This product really helped even more decrease the fine lines (particularly that pesky frown line which drives me bonkers because I look worried or upset even when I’m not.) I’m sold!

I sent their Balance Creme PMS support blend of herbs to one of our younger readers (yes, we have readers who have not faced perimenopause yet, but they have moms and aunts and older coworkers they wish to support.) She has not tried it for long enough to know how it works – she will keep us posted.

Click here to go to their website.


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Calling All Goddesses – Research Study

As most of you know, I am passionate about research into women’s health issues. We are just beginning to learn how important orgasm is for health generally. Let’s all participate in this study for us and future generations.

The University of Ottawa is currently conducting a study on how orgasm evolves through life and is seeking  participants! In order to take part in the study, participants must be 18+ years old, fluent in English, and have experienced an orgasm either alone or with a partner.

You will find the link below to the online questionnaire.



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More Must Reads for Menopause Goddesses

Healing © lynette sheppard

Back in the day, when I was going through the worst of The Big M, there was very little info from ‘real’ women to be found. And no one can tell it like our sisters! Happily, that has changed. And here are two marvelous reads that you just won’t want to miss. Think you’re alone? Think again!

Angela Verges new book, Menopause Ain’t No Joke, Blending Faith and Humor in Perfectly Imperfect Situations is a true gem. Part personal stories and part guided journal and workbook with the occasional spiritual quotation; it can be  your best friend on the menopause journey. And in case you didn’t grok it from the title, it’s laugh out loud funny. Hey, if we don’t laugh, we’ll cry and never stop. Pick it up on Amazon or at your favorite bookstore.

In the tradition of Erma Bombeck, Stacey Gustafson writes with pinpoint humor about the trials and tribulations of daily life (midlife) in her newest book: Are You Still Kidding Me? I laughed out loud so often that my husband came in from his office to see if I was okay!

So grab a cup of coffee, ease into the easy chair, and be prepared to laugh out loud too. Stacy may not be your new best friend, but you’ll feel like she is by the time you’ve finished these forty-five stories of family life, written by a mother who’s seen it all. You can find her book on Amazon or your favorite bookstore.

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Why Age Shouldn’t Determine if You Work from Home

Menopause is a time of transition on so many levels. We are also confronting aging, empty nesting, partial or complete retirement (or not). Many of our posts will now focus more on the second Act of our lives than menopause. Why? Because we have boatloads of info on menopause. Put whatever symptom or aspect of menopause you are most interested in into the search box and it will pull up all posts related to it. After all, fifteen years of posts pretty much covers it. Of course, we will post new advances and topics not previously covered on the blog. Today’s post addresses the potential of working from home and why we needn’t believe we can’t start at our time of life. Enjoy!

Why Age Shouldn’t Determine if You Work from Home   by Kevin Conner

Currently, we find ourselves in the midst of a revolution. But it’s not the type of revolution we typically think of when we hear that word, one with flags waving and people in the streets. Instead, we’re undergoing a slow metamorphosis of how we live and work, and all of this is thanks to the internet.

One prime example of this is how remote work is rapidly becoming the norm. Between the growth in the gig economy and its freelancers and the number of companies relaxing some outdated policies, remote working is on the rise.
However, as is the case with any change, there are some old stigmas that are stubbornly sticking around. One of these is that remote work is something “special.” Or, that it’s something only for a select few. It’s still seen as a good option for older workers, or for working moms, or for those who have some sort of a disability instead of for everyone. But this simply isn’t the case. Remote work is for everyone, and here’s why.

All the Tools Are At Your Fingertips
On the practical side of things, we shouldn’t forget that it’s now possible to do almost any job using a laptop with an internet connection and a phone. The rise in remote work has been accompanied by a rise in the number of tools available to those working remotely, and these can do a pretty good job of reducing the gap we sometimes think exists between an office and its remote workers.

For example, Slack makes for a nice complement to email as a way of staying in touch. Trello and Asana are very useful for managing projects, and Google Drive facilitates sharing and collaboration. Combining these tools can help you create a home office environment that empowers you to do all the same things you could do were you not working from home, and there are many more tools that can be used to help you meet your specific needs.

Balance Should Be Life, Not the Reward
Moving from the practical, though, there are some ethical reasons why working from home should be for everyone, such as the right to a good life.

Working from home provides people with a unique opportunity for balance in their lives. Parents can split time between work and family more easily, and for those with passionate hobbies, this type of arrangement gives you more time to spend doing what you love.

However, this type of balance should not be something we’re all working to someday have when we retire or when we achieve a high enough position within a company. Instead, it should be something everyone can enjoy right now. This is slowly becoming the case, but it should probably be happening faster.

Working From Home Is Still Work
Just because you’re no longer going into an office doesn’t mean you’re not working. Those who already work from home know this to be the case, whereas those who’ve never had the chance likely still see these remote arrangements as “mini-vacations.”

However, because working from home does not change the fact that you’re working, everyone should be given the opportunity to do it. It’s true that not everyone will like this type of arrangement—some people can resist distraction better than others—but this isn’t a reason to deny people the chance to adjust their work schedule so that it complements the rest of their life.

Different Ages, Different Needs
As should now be clear, working from home helps better equip us to incorporate work into our other life obligations. But, as we know, each chapter of our life presents a unique set of challenges, which is why it’s unfair to attach remote working to age.

Someone who is older may need or want to work from home because of their health, whereas a younger person may want it so that they can take care of a young family, or to serve as a caregiver for some of their elderly relatives.
In the end, there are infinite challenges we face, and while remote work can’t solve all of them, there’s a chance it can help, which is why age should have nothing to do with working from home.

About the Author: Kevin is the founder and CEO of both Vast Bridges, a customer acquisition and lead generation service, and also Broadband Search, an online platform dedicated to helping people find the best value internet in their area. Both companies were launched from his home before growing into much larger operations, which has turned him into an outspoken advocate for remote work and all the benefits it can provide to people.

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Laugh Out Loud Reading for Menopausal Women

In the tradition of Erma Bombeck, Stacey Gustafson writes with pinpoint humor about the trials and tribulations of daily life (midlife) in her newest book: Are You Still Kidding Me? And check out the giveaway. Details below:

Are You Still Kidding Me?

Ever finish your kid’s homework? Netflix cheat on your husband? Try to explain Alexa to your mother?
If so, you’re not alone—Stacey Gustafson’s back at it again with Are You Still Kidding Me? In this hilarious and heartwarming sequel to her #1 Amazon bestseller Are You Kidding Me? My Life with an Extremely Loud Family, Bathroom Calamities, and Crazy Relatives. Gustafson tackles the foibles of modern family life—from toddlers and teens to empty nesters—with wry wit and plenty of humor.

Grab a cup of coffee, ease into the easy chair, and be prepared to laugh out loud along with Gustafson—she may not be your new best friend, but you’ll feel like she is by the time you’ve finished these forty-five stories of family life, written by a mother who’s seen it all.

Find the Book

Are You Still Kidding Me? is 99 cents now through September 30th!

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/40957106-are-you-still-kidding-me

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Are-Still-Kidding-Keep-Book-ebook/dp/B07FLTF4LF

About Stacey Gustafson

Amazon best-selling author Stacey Gustafson is a guest speaker, humor columnist, and blogger who has experienced the horrors of being trapped inside a pair of SPANX. Her blog, Are You Kidding Me? is based on her suburban family and everyday life. Her short stories have appeared in Chicken Soup for the Soul and seven books in the Not Your Mother’s Book series. Her work appears in Midlife Boulevard, Erma Bombeck Writers’ Workshop, ZestNow, More.com, Pleasanton Patch, Lost in Suburbia, Better After 50 and on her daughter’s bulletin board. 

She writes about parenting and daily frustrations like her dislike of the laundry, self-checkout lanes, public restrooms, Brussels sprouts, roundabouts, and being middle-aged. Her book, Are You Kidding Me? My Life With an Extremely Loud Family, Bathroom Calamities, and Crazy Relatives, released Sept. 2014.

To learn more, visit:

Blog: http://staceygustafson.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/staceygustafsonwriter/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/RUKiddingStacey
Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Stacey-Gustafson/e/B00N25AAHS
Goodreads Author Page: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8515129.Stacey_Gustafson
Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/stacey-gustafson

Giveaway Link:

Aurora’s Book Butterflies

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Estrogen Matters

To HRT or not to HRT? That is the question for so many menopausal and post-menopausal women. It can be confusing at best, terrifying at worst to consider hormone replacement. If only someone could demystify all the conflicting information and provide clear evidence so that we might make up our own minds.

At long last, someone has collected the body of studies that explore estrogen and its role in areas such as heart disease, breast cancer, brain function, and bone health. Avrum Bluming, MD and Carol Tavris, PHD share their research, knowledge, and stories from patients in this groundbreaking book: Estrogen Matters.

This book doesn’t tell you whether or not you personally should take HRT, but it lays out all the information you might want in order to make an informed decision. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – we must educate ourselves. It is not up to our health care practitioner alone – we must know our own bodies and be responsible for our health care decisions. And if we don’t feel comfortable with our present practitioner, we must search for one who will be our trusted partner in decision making.

Ideally, you will read this book BEFORE you reach menopause – because the symptoms can be overwhelming and just reading seems like a lot. Yet even if you procrastinate or are too busy until menopause slaps you in the face as it did to us, you owe it to yourself. if you have brain fog already? Read it in small bits – digest it slowly.

One caveat: this book is not an oversimplified or perky treatise on menopause. It truly does dive into all the research and ramifications of estrogen supplementation. Full disclosure: it can be a little weighty. Because the topic is weighty. And we deserve all the information it offers.

I remember when I first availed myself of bioidentical estrogen and progesterone – HRT. My holistic MD told me that the media and many of the reports that circulated regarding the WHI – Women’s Health Initiative – the study that scared us all spitless and made us eschew HRT until we were desperate – were incomplete and inaccurate. He actually spoke to one of the main researchers for the WHI who confirmed this.

This book explains in greater detail and with clarity those misconceptions. I wish we’d had this sooner. But we have it now.

I highly recommend reading this book whether or not you are considering HRT – the more informed we are, the more we understand our bodies and our health concerns, the better informed our choices will be. We deserve to live healthy, vibrant, active lives for our Second Act.

Buy it here: Amazon

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Finally! A Non-invasive Home Treatment for Stress Incontinence

Daisies © lynette sheppard

Stress incontinence. It happens when you laugh or sneeze vigorously. Been there, done that. And now that the koa are in bloom in Hawaii, been doing it more frequently.

Incontinence and/or stress incontinence afflicts so many women after menopause as our pelvic floor muscles weaken. Just one more of the many gifts of midlife.

Leakage is annoying and uncomfortable. So when Heather at In Control Medical told me that their new Apex M device was not only effective for incontinence generally, it could reduce or stop stress incontinence. It involves no surgery, drugs, or invasive treatment; just naturally helps strengthen the weak pelvic floor muscles. I jumped at the chance to try it.

As per instructions, I used it 10 minutes per day, six days a week. Because it is inserted into the vagina, at first it felt a little like a self administered pap smear. A little more lubrication and I got used to it.

After only two weeks, I noticed a difference. Much less leakage and sometimes, none at all even when sneezing one of those sneezes that seems to originate in my toes.

After six weeks, I can sneeze with the best of them, confident that I won’t leak. Hurray! All the kegel exercises in the world didn’t come close to helping. And believe me, I tried.

You all know how much I love treatments and remedies that work without side effects. So I can heartily recommend the Apex M for all of us who need a little toning of those pelvic floor muscles.

Here are the experiences of some more women who tried the Apex M – it works for urinary or fecal incontinence as well.

Best of all, if you try it and aren’t happy with the results after 90 days, In Control Medical will give you a full refund. And they have nurses available by phone to help if need be.

Find out more about this FDA approved device (Apex M) on their website: In Control Medical. Stay cool AND stay dry, goddesses.

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Overcoming Sexual Pain in Menopause

opening © lynette sheppard

Tara Langdale-Schmidt’s guest blog post brought me to tears. Please read this poignant and inspiring piece.

How I overcame sexual pain and dedicated my life to helping others.

By Tara Langdale-Schmidt

My problems started at age 11 with my first surgery. Doctors did not know what was causing my abdomen pain so they the scheduled exploratory surgery. They found a huge cyst which had cut off the blood supply to ovary and removed that ovary and tube. This was the first of many surgeries for cysts and endometriosis over the next 20 years. Endometriosis caused a pain during sex, it was an uncomfortable feeling deep inside that I became used to it. My sex life was normal besides this. Penetration was never painful until I started to experience a different kind of pain, a very sharp pain I had never felt before.

My nightmare experience with sexual pain began mildly and I started going downhill in 2010. It began as mild pain during intercourse in my vulva. As time when on, the pain became worse, it felt like someone was stabbing me with a knife and burning me at the same time. Intercourse would trigger the pain and it would still burn after having sex. Nothing helped the pain or made it go away. I only told my best friends, and they had never heard of anything like what I was experiencing. Neither had my fiancé, Jason.

I didn’t know it then, but I was suffering from the excruciating pain of Vulvodynia. The pain, both physical, emotional and mental, was agonizing, made it impossible to enjoy sexual intimacy with my future husband and impacted my quality of life for four long years.

The burning and stabbing escalated and I would not have sex at all with Jason. We were getting married and probably not going to be able to have intercourse on our wedding night. I was becoming depressed over the thought of never being able to have enjoyable sex again.

My primary gynecologist told me if sex hurt to drink some wine and take Advil. That was in the beginning stages before the pain became worse. Then he realized it was serious, I still didn’t have a diagnosis and I was confused and worried about what was causing the pain. I actually asked my doctor if I had something called Vulvodynia because I found it on the internet. He agreed it probably was Vulvodynia. He wanted me to try the numbing creams and after that he called several doctors and told me none of them had a treatment plan for Vulvodynia. He stated doctors did not know what caused it and he was sorry he couldn’t help me.

I was given a prescription for Gabapentin cream and Ketamine creams. These are compounded creams, that might help the nerve pain, I was told to use twice a day. Both of these creams cost over $125 each and did not help at all. Also, I tried lidocaine injections which only lasted an hour and left me hurting from the needle.

I had many surgeries for endometriosis and cysts, and one surgery they went in vaginally instead of through my abdomen. I thought that maybe the pain resulted from scar tissue. My doctor also thought it could be scar tissue as well. After no relief with numbing creams, I decided to go to a pelvic pain specialist. He told me that I could take an antidepressant because it can help with nerve pain, do an injection or have a surgery to remove part of the vestibule that was hurting. I did not like these options. I do not like taking painkillers and especially not before sex.

After suffering for so long and getting no answers or solutions, I decided to take matters into my own hands. I had to take action.

From my previous positive experience using magnets to reduce back and neck nerve pain after a car accident, I had a “lightbulb moment” idea to incorporate neodymium magnets into a dilator set for pelvic pain. I used the magnetic dilators for two weeks and then had sex with my husband for the first time in months with less pain than normal.

I had just starting using the dilator for the first time about three weeks prior to my wedding and I was actually able to enjoy my wedding night. I didn’t think that was going to happen. My husband, who was so supportive, was as thrilled. I was able to have sex without pain.

Due to my reduction in pain and positive feedback after speaking to doctors about my magnetic dilator treatment and pain reduction, I knew I had no option but to create a startup company dedicated to helping other women with pelvic pain.

With my personal pain issues resolved, and working with my good friend and business partner Robert Smithson, we together founded VuVatech, a company based in Sarasota, Fl. dedicated to helping the estimated one-in-seven women in the US who suffer from pelvic, vulvar pain. With the help of medical experts, we invented a medical device, the VuVa Magnetic Vaginal Dilator that has proven to relieve pelvic pain and sexual discomfort and has improved the lives of women seeking sexual normalcy.

VuVa Magnetic Vaginal Dilators

are a new, non-surgical approach to helping millions of women suffering from multiple pelvic pain conditions and sexual comfort. The dilator therapy can also be incorporated into treatment plans for other conditions such as Vaginismus, Vulvar Vestibulitis, Dyspareunia, Menopause, Vaginal Stenosis, Vaginal Atrophy and Vaginal Dryness.

Many women suffering from these pelvic pain conditions have been placed on heavy pain medications, anti-depressants or have been advised to have invasive surgeries with low success rates. Our VuVa Dilators offer a low cost, safe, non-invasive treatment option to renew the sexual desire and comfort women deserve.

Since VuVa Dilators became available on the market in late 2015, we have only used social media, google ads and pelvic pain forums to call attention to our product and website. After selling over one thousand dilators and receiving positive feedback, it validated our decision to perform clinical trials. Clinical trials have provided beyond positive results by reducing nerve pain in subjects, so much so, that each subject purchased a set of VuVa dilators at the conclusion of the study.

We have now helped over 7,000 women who deal with pelvic pain due to menopause, vaginal atrophy, cervical cancer and other pelvic pain conditions.

Today, sex life with my husband is great. If I use the dilator twenty minutes before we have sex, I can have close to pain free intercourse. During my research I have found Vulvodynia can disappear or become less painful. I used to feel broken and now I am hopeful and thankful I have a device that allows me to have intercourse with less pain.

Using a vaginal dilator changed my sex life. But my overall message to women is pain: there is hope, there are answers, you do not have to suffer. I’m a perfect example.

Tara Langdale-Schmidt of Sarasota, Fl. was a pelvic pain sufferer and is the co-founder of
 VuVa Tech (www.vuvatech.com), a company that helps women with sexual pain.

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Threat to Bioidentical Hormones for Women’s Health

Feminine © lynette sheppard

Sigh. I had hoped we would not have to fight this fight ever again. But it seems we will need to stand up for our rights. Bioidentical hormones literally saved me during my menopause transition. It’s not that we all need them, it’s that we (and our physicians or nurse practitioners) have a right to choose treatment that has been around safely for decades. Read this important post by Gretchen DuBeau and click the link to write Congress and the FDA today!

Threat to Bioidentical Hormones for Women’s Health  

by Gretchen Dubeau

Millions of women rely on hormone replacement therapy to manage the symptoms of menopause. Unfortunately, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is poised to eliminate women’s access to alternative medications that are often safer and more effective than the conventional treatments.

Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) is meant to give women the proper balance of hormones to stay healthy. There are a number of HRT drugs on the market, but these hormones are not chemically the same as the ones the human body produces. One product is even made from pregnant mares’ urine. Another contains peanut oil, a potential allergen.

Many doctors, though, swear by bioidentical hormone replacement (BHRT) therapy, the treatment of choice for roughly 2.5 million women. The difference is that bioidentical hormones are, as the name indicates, chemically identical to the hormones produced by the body.

The difference is crucial. A number of studies have indicated that BHRT is not only safer but superior to the alternatives. According to a 2009 review of published studies, “Physiological data and clinical outcomes demonstrate that bioidentical hormones are associated with lower risks, including the risk of breast cancer and cardiovascular disease, and are more efficacious” than standard HRT.

This is also borne out in the experience of patients. Over and over, we hear patients who switch from HRT to BHRT say that they feel like themselves again, that they are no longer tired all the time, or suffering from night sweats and hot flashes, and that their sleep is better. They feel like they’ve gotten their lives back. No premium can be put on such extraordinary outcomes.

Bioidentical hormones are usually made, pursuant to a doctor’s prescription, at a specialized pharmacy—called a compounding pharmacy—which makes medications tailored to a patient’s individual needs. This is one of the great advantages of BHRT; it’s not one size fits all, but can be customized to a patient’s unique needs.

This isn’t to say that BHRT is the answer for everyone. But women deserve choices, especially when conventional HRT leaves many women still feeling the worst effects of menopause.

This is where the FDA comes in. After a tragic incident where 76 people were killed as a result of a meningitis outbreak linked to a single compounding pharmacy, Congress passed a law to increase federal oversight over these pharmacies. To implement this law, the FDA is in the process of finalizing a list of substances that cannot be made at compounding pharmacies. Bioidentical hormones like progesterone, estradiol, and estriol have been nominated to this list, despite having been compounded safely for decades.

It’s also worth noting the FDA’s conflict of interest. Bioidentical hormones compete with FDA-approved HRT drugs. Drug companies pay user fees to the FDA to get their products approved, and these user fees fund the FDA. The resulting bias in favor of the pharmaceutical industry has been apparent throughout the implementation of the compounding law, with the FDA routinely advising that safe, natural medicines—which compete with FDA-approved products—be off limits to these specialized pharmacies.

We at the Alliance for Natural Health USA are spearheading a grassroots campaign to protect consumer access to bioidentical hormones. Patients, in consultation with their doctors, have a right to choose the treatment options that work best for them. Click the link below, which will allow you to send a message to your representatives in Congress and the FDA, urging them to protect access to bioidentical hormones. If enough concerned patients speak up, the FDA will have to think twice about eliminating patient access to crucial bioidentical hormones.

Take action: Tell Congress and the FDA to protect access to bioidentical hormones!

About Gretchen DuBeau
Gretchen DuBeau, Esq. is executive and legal director of Alliance for Natural Health-USA (ANH-USA), an international organization dedicated to promoting natural and sustainable health and consumer freedom of choice in health care.

Note: There is not an actual bill in Congress. This action alert urges FDA to take these bioidentical hormones off the list of substances nominated to not be allowed to be compounded. We are also working on a letter from members of Congress to the FDA with the same message, which is why we’ve included Congress in our action alert as well. FDA and their Pharmacy Compounding Advisory Committee (PCAC) could make this change without Congressional action, but having Congress members push them to do so will likely help.

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Cool Opportunity to Help Yourself Get a Good Night’s Sleep

Most of you know how much I support research that might help with the symptoms of menopause. And I’ve not been shy about being a proponent of natural modalities without side effects. I’ve written about the Bedjet previously – now the company is looking for participants for a study of their Climate Comfort System to help women with nocturnal hot flashes or night sweats. Those chosen to participate will test and get to keep their Bedjet. I’ve used it – it’s simply wonderful for promoting cool, restful sleep. Here are the details:

BedJet Sleep Study:

If you’re suffering from perimenopausal/menopausal night sweats, now is your chance to get a FREE BedJet (a $500 value!) by participating in consumer study. The BedJet company is seeking 10-20 participants to enroll in a trial study of the BedJet Climate Comfort system for beds with menopausal or postmenopausal women suffering from poor sleep quality due to hot flashes and/or night sweats.

To qualify for the study:
You must be a female experiencing sleep disturbance due to perimenopausal /menopausal hot flashes and/or night sweats
Be able to use the BedJet Climate Comfort System for beds and AirComforter during sleep for two consecutive weeks (14 nights in a row)
Own/have access to a smartphone or tablet and be able to download the free BedJet app (Apple Store or Google Play)
Be able to answer a brief questionnaire about your experience at the start of two weeks and the end of two weeks
Be willing to communicate periodically with the study team
Live in the United States

Participation is limited and enrollment is on a first-come first serve basis with qualified candidates. Candidates will need to fill out a study participation questionnaire to determine study eligibility. Participants can keep their BedJet & AirComforter setup at the conclusion of the study (a $500 value!) If interested, please email sarahmcclutchy@bedjet.com with your name, address and phone number where you can be reached.

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