Don’t Panic- It is Just An Epidemic of Autism
A Tale of Autistic Blood

Why Good Parents Believe Myths About Autism and Vaccines

Protecting child By J.B. Handley
 
Like many recent articles, Newsweek is referring to an article written by Lisa Gross in the medical journal PLoS Biology titled, “A Broken Trust: Lessons from the Vaccine–Autism Wars.”
 
Ms. Gross’ article is wildly one-sided and written from the point of view that we parents are clearly mistaken in our belief that vaccines cause autism (she probably didn’t read Fourteen Studies too closely!). Her point is that public health has simply not done a good job in explaining this obvious fact to parents. She concludes:
 
“Researchers might consider taking a page out of the hero's handbook by embracing the power of stories—that is, adding a bit of drama—to show that even though scientists can't say just what causes autism or how to prevent it, the evidence tells us not to blame vaccines. As news of epidemics spreads along with newly unfettered infectious diseases, those clinging to doubt about vaccines may come to realize that several potentially deadly diseases are just a plane ride, or playground, away—and that vaccines really do save lives.”
 
Ms. Gross is advocating a strategy the CDC has actually employed for years: scare the hell out of parents to induce them to vaccinate their kids. No doubt, we will see more and more stories about kids dying from vaccine-preventable diseases in the coming months.
 
As we all know, the US vaccine program is based on public trust. In the last few years, I would argue that the public’s trust in vaccines has eroded dramatically. Don’t believe me? Ask any expecting parent if they are worried about autism and the number of vaccines they are being asked to give their kids.


 
When my own son was born in 2002 and vaccinated on schedule through 2004, the vaccine-autism connection was an inaudible whisper, although the internet was just starting to give parents more information. Go back to the mid-1990s, it was absent from the radar altogether.
 
*        *        *
 
This led us to wonder: what kind of change in the general population’s perspective of vaccines has the vaccine-autism debate caused? I’d argue that if you asked people in the mid-1990s or even early 2000s if vaccines caused autism, most respondents would simply say “no.” Today, the number should be very different.
 
I didn’t know how different it would be.
 
I will quote directly from a report Generation Rescue recently received from Zogby International:
 
“Zogby International was commissioned by Generation Rescue to conduct an online survey of 4,112 adults. A sampling of Zogby International's online panel, which is representative of the adult population of the US, was invited to participate. Slight weights were added to region, age, gender, education, race, and party to more accurately reflect the population. The margin of error is +/- 1.6 percentage points.
 
Narrative Summary
 
1. Do you believe vaccines play a role in autism?
 
Yes              13%
Not Sure        45
No                42
 
Forty-five percent of respondents are unsure whether vaccines play a role in autism. Forty-two percent believe that vaccines do not play a role, and 13% believe that they do.”
 
*        *        *
 
Let me try and put this in proper context: A sample poll of the entire US adult population shows that 58% of adult Americans either believe vaccines cause autism or are not sure if they do or do not. If you are a public health official, this is a disaster. Do parents who are not sure whether or not vaccines cause autism simply vaccinate on schedule without asking questions or doing research? No, they don’t.
 
Also, we didn’t poll “Expecting mothers”, “Southern California Parents”, or other subgroups where the “Yes” answer would be far, far higher.
 
So, the next time you read a hit piece in the Chicago Tribune or an opinion piece in PLoS Biology that attempts to characterize our movement as being a piece of history or crazy or misguided or all of the above, take heart, because here is what is actually true:
 
1. Public health officials have no plausible explanation for the growth in cases of autism, and they are left to try and manufacture a story around “improved diagnosis” that almost no parent believes.
 
2. Parents get their best information from other parents. In every neighborhood in America, kids are being diagnosed with autism and parents are concluding it’s the vaccines and sharing this conclusion with their neighbors. This is why Jenny resonates with parents: they are hearing Jenny’s story in their own backyard.
 
3. The science that has been done to date to “prove” vaccines don’t cause autism is a sham and any educated person can easily verify this by going to: www.fourteenstudies.org
 
4. The real science asking the right questions is finally starting to happen.
 
5. Kids are recovering from “autism” by being treated for vaccine injury.
 
6. On the night of our Larry King Live appearance, Generation Rescue’s website received one million hits.
 
7. Our survey shows that the Paul Offits of the world are doing a remarkably bad job at managing public opinion.
 
8. In the end, the truth always prevails.
  
One of my favorite doctors refers to autism by what I believe is a far more proper name, “Post Vaccination Syndrome”. It appears that Americans as a population are starting to see the world the same way.
 
For now, I’m a proud member of the 13% club, a number that I have no doubt will continue to grow.
 
Take heart, parents, we continue to win this war.

J.B. Handley is co-founder of Generation Rescue and a contributor to Age of Autism. 

Comments

Jack R.

Say the number is 1 in 64 like it appears to be in the UK. Each one of those has 2 parents and maybe 6 aunts and uncles on average. 8 adults effected by one child. 8 of 64 = 13%.

That's of course a very unsophisticated calculation (I wonder how you could get a real number of how many parents/aunts and uncles are touched) but it still makes me wonder if it is still just 13 Percent The Hard Way.

Louise Kuo Habakus

A friend shared this 6/5/09 post: http://oliverandabrahams.blogspot.com/2009/06/vaccinations.html Scroll down to the last three paragraphs and read about the young girl who stood up to her teacher and shared the truth with her friends during recess:

Recently, I gave my manager at work print-outs of many of the documents I have links to in this post, particularly the ones pertaining to the HPV vaccine. He is the father of two adolescent girls, and had mentioned consideration of vaccinating them for HPV. After reading through these reports, he and his wife made the decision to pass on Gardasil. A few weeks later, one of his daughters came home from school and asked for the papers I had given her father. Her teacher had begun speaking of the benefits of the HPV vaccine. "All of you girls should be vaccinated, no question about it..." I can imagine her chanting.

The girl returned to school the next day, documents in hand, and politely suggested that there may be more harm involved with the said vaccination than what was being revealed. The teacher shunned her. (Remember, conformity is something highly advocated in the public school system. We want to raise "little citizens" not revolutionists.) So the girl showed her classmates during lunch. And they had a remarkable realization. "This could be us." That's all it took. The girl gave her friends the links to the websites, who in turn showed their parents, who will now hopefully refuse to let their daughters be injected with a substance that can cause so much harm and has little proof of its effectiveness. Bravo!

So that's that. Spread the information. Create an intellectual revolution, my friends!


Sunny

We're getting louder, thanks to you JB!

Curtis  J

One fairly dependable, non-survey method has always been to "follow the money."

As one looks at the growth in the vaccine schedule since 1990, looks at where the money went to, and what those with the money are saying, and also what they fail to investigate...

They are losing, Few surveys are really needed.

My son will be seven in a few weeks.

Cynthia Cournoyer

Thank you Generation Rescue for doing the poll. We need more of them. And it is very true that the only way the "not sure" crowd has grown so much is because of parents educating parents.

The 13% - ers rattle the cages of those who blindly want to believe that there is no problem with vaccines. We wander around their world looking like aliens from another planet.

I wrote a guest editorial as a rebut to a columnist who specialized in "technology." He also thought of us as freaks.
http://www.worldnetdaily.com/index.php?fa=PAGE.view&pageId=80240

Cynthia Cournoyer

Autism Grandma

The following recent survey demonstrates that all of the hard work by J.B. Handley and so many others in the autism community is increasing public awareness, in addition to the increasing number of people who know someone with autism, and the many people who know someone with autism who witnessed the vaccines as the instigating factor:

USA Autism Survey - Vaccines Damned

National Public Opinion Survey:
Americans’ Knowledge and Understanding of Autism, 2008

(83%) thought that finding a cure for autism should be a national priority

(24%) respondents said that because vaccines may cause autism it was safer not to have children vaccinated at all. Another 19% were not sure. [24% +19% = 43%]

(39%) survey respondents know a person with autism

For younger parents (ages 21-28), 63% were slightly, very or extremely concerned their children would be autistic.

(64%) respondents believe the media give less or much less attention to autism than it deserves.

The above are just a few highlights. More Info Here:
http://www.theoneclickgroup.co.uk/news.php?start=2380&end=2400&view=yes&id=2912#newspost

Sue

What Lisa Gross totally missed in her essay is that the CDC and mainstream medicine lost MY trust because they have blatantly lied, and continue to lie. Though I will have to give her credit for reporting the chronology of various events better than many journalists, she gratuitously repeats some of the lies--indicating she is either complicit, or did not investigate carefully.

When Burbacher's study came out, the statement that the ethylmercury in thimerosal is a "safe" form of mercury was clearly shown to be false. I expected there would be a reassessment by CDC et al. after that. But no. Just a reassertion of their mantra that it is just a trace of mercury, quickly expelled by a baby's body, and of no concern as it is not the same as the dangerous "methylmercury". What might have once been a mis-statement due to hopeful thinking and a lack of research information, became a blatant lie.

When that small Pichichero study was criticised for not measuring the amount of mercury actually excreted by babies after thimerosal injections, versus just measuring its disappearance from the blood (very possibly INTO the organs and brain)--did they repeat the study and do the needed measurements? No. They repeated the study on a larger sample of babies in a foreign country and AGAIN failed to measure the amount of mercury being excreted. Then they waved the resulting paper around as further "proof" that the ethylmercury in thimerosal is cleared from a baby's body quickly. They have no such proof--so again, they are caught in a lie.

The GLARING lies in just the above examples are what destroyed my trust. And these are just two of many lies various vaccine enthusiasts continue to tell. So what else are they lying about? Is there anything they say that CAN be trusted?

Those who persist in calling names and derisively criticizing those with rational concerns about mercury and other ingredients in vaccines merely escalate the war and enlarge the divide between those of us who have genuine concerns and those who just really haven't bothered to look into the situation, but nevertheless "know" that all mandated vaccines are safe and effective. Trust is never gained by lying, or shouting, or name-calling, or fear-mongering, or paternalistic pats on the head. It is gained by being honest and trustworthy. And at that, our government health agencies have failed miserably. Our doctors have failed miserably. Lisa Gross continues on that path.

Calling all the folks with concerns about vaccines "stupid," "foolish," "uneducated," or just "good parents misled by myths" is completely counterproductive given that a good number of us are well-educated, thoughtful people who are genuinely concerned based on careful examination of the available research, the arguments on both sides, and our first-hand experiences and observations. Claiming that we have arrived at our concerns based simply on fear, myths, the wild claims of movie stars, or crazy antivaccine internet sites is simply another blatant lie. Oh what a tangled web...

As all those who just have doubts about vaccine safety begin to research the controversy themselves, they too will eventually discover the lies, and the lack of genuine trustworthy and definitive research into vaccine safety, and what exactly is happening to the health and brains of so many children. Then they too will lose trust. Once trust is lost, it never can be fully regained or resurrected.

In my mind, mainstream medicine has become "fear-based" medicine. I am no longer buying what they are selling. And yes, Lisa, that is because I no longer trust our public health agencies, or what they (and you), misleadingly, call "science." I DO trust real science to eventually come up with real answers.

I am waiting for that long-term vaccinated/never vaccinated study done in a transparent fashion by trustworthy open-minded researchers and open access to all the data provided to all interested researchers.

I am waiting for that study on infant monkeys that receive the full thimerosal-laden vaccine schedule.

I am waiting on that study that honestly measures how much mercury is really excreted post-thimerosal vaccines.

I am waiting.

But as more and more published "peer-reviewed" medical/drug/environmental studies are discovered to be based on falsified data, or twisted methodologies, or conducted by researchers deeply compromised by undeclared conflicts of interest, the more I wonder WHAT science is real, and trustworthy.

The more I see science and science journals and journalists influenced by politics, funding sources, courts of law, and self-proclaimed "skeptics," the less trusting I have become. At some point, the only thing I am certain I can rely on is my very own eyes and my firsthand experiences, observations, and the replicated test results I have in my own hands. For a person who loves science, and understands science as a process for discovering truth, and who is aware of the pitfalls of limited data and the potential biases of observation, that is a very sad place to be.

But I have not given up hope that the truth will be discovered. And I am certain that real science and honest scientists will eventually deliver it.

Stagmom

Col, I had 100% natural childbirth - not so much as a Tylenol in my system. I wanted to make sure my first baby had every health advantage and I didn't want her laden with drugs. Then I allowed a stranger to inject 12.5 mcg of mercury into Mia's body the day she was born. We simply didn't know. It's tragic and I think it should be a suable offense, not telling parents what is in a vaccine and the side effects and the REASON for giving these products. Hep B at birth.... My good god.

Twyla

Thank you for these encouraging words, JB.

If nothing changes in our govt's approach to vaccines, the number of adverse reactions will increase even more, and that will be what makes any great PR campaign meaningless.

When my son turned blue after his Hep B shot on the day he was born, and my daughter had a febrile seizure after receiving the MMR plus varicela vaccines, it did not even occur to me that these could be a vaccine reactions. But nowadays there is so much more publicity on these issues that parents are much more likely to recognize a vaccine reaction if it occurs.

So the authorities need to realize that the cat is out of the bag, and is not going back in.

Lenny S., nice to see you commenting here!

Kim, that's wonderful about Mia's eight words!!

Col

Before I was pregnant, before he was a twinkle, we went organic... or as organic as was easy enough, when I was pregnant, we went a little further w/that, and I knew I wanted to make ALL the babies food myself, cause who KNOWS what kind of chemicals could be in all those babyfoods, all the bad plastic I was determined to keep out of lives... It never once occurred to me that maybe I should question the flu shot that the dr recommended or the rhogham because of my blood type... it never occurred to me when they gave the hepatitis b in the hospital... or at his first visit when they were going to give him his shots and the doctor asked me if i wanted to spread them out a bit.... and i asked him, well how many does he need.....

IT WASNT UNTIL I SAW THE LIST....

You are winning.... I researched for myself, and you've armed parents like me. New'ish' parents, who got 8 shots as a child. Armed and educated. And thankful.

Thank you.

Lisa in Texas

JB, I had also hoped to meet you at Autism One and thank you for being such a warrior for us.
I found it interesting how much the subject of 'trust' was a recurring theme in the past several NVAC meetings and recent IOM meeting. It was very interesting that a 'branding' expert was brought in to one of the meetings to tell the panel how they could restore trust in vaccines with some clever marketing. If I recall, she was the guru who came up with famous marketing slogans like "Seat Belts Save Lives." I could not keep my mouth shut when I was asked for my public comment. I told the panel if they want to restore trust, they could show us the safety studies in the current vaccine schedule. There was only silence.

Keep up the great work, and I agree with Tanners Dad that this article needs to be posted here!

Cathy

I got to be a member of the 13% club the hard way.
Great article.
Thank you to GR - for everything...

Erika

J.B.

Thank you once again for a great article. I was hoping to meet you in Chicago at the Autism One conference, just to thank you for your endless work. Hopefully next time.

The 13% you are talking about is a very interesting number to me.

Let me tell you why. This past Christmas, my husband and I sent 150 cards to our friends, family and co-workers. The card had the photo of our ASD child, along with the proverb “Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer” (Romans 12:12).

At the bottom of it, after the traditional Christmas greeting we printed the Generation Rescue website.

In the next two weeks we got either an e-mail or a phone call from 16 of those families that received our card.

They thank us for including the website, which they did not know about but turned out to be very helpful because, among other comments: “my child is 3 ½ and is not talking, only poops once a week and toe walks” or “my daughter was in the backyard and got bitten by ants all over her body and she did not cry nor complain” or “my twins flap their hands when they watch Barney on TV and they only eat cheese and bananas and drink milk” or “my son used to smile for every single photo and play with his trains and now he does not want to play nor even looks at me when I call his name and want to take his photo”…

Well, you get the picture… all of these parents were told by their doctors that that was perfectly normal… until they got our Christmas card.

So we are talking about roughly an 11% or more of the total number of people that got our card. Very close to your 13% wouldn’t you say?

The word is out.
Let’s pray but keep paddling to the shore.

randy

An interesting tidbit to follow on the GM / Chrysler analogy, last night on CBC's "The National", Havard Gould's report on this issue included some interesting comments by Brock Yates (who's been described as one of the best automotive journalists ever). He wrote about the eventual demise of GM and the Big 3 - almost 3 decades ago - and they called him a "total idiot".

As Gould commented - "the total idiot was right".

http://www.cbc.ca/national/

When asked if it's within GM's current management to turn the situation around, Yates said he doesn't think so - they need to "get people in from the outside" and "really rattle that cage to get it working".

The bigger they are....

qchan63

RE this: "Also, we didn’t poll “Expecting mothers”, “Southern California Parents”, or other subgroups where the “Yes” answer would be far, far higher."

Hmmm ... really? I live in Southern California, and i honestly wasn't aware of any general understanding that far more people here believe vaccines cause autism.

Although i guess if you already know that's the case, maybe there's no need for a poll.

Garbo

Well, the way I see it, when people start lining up for not one but THREE flu vaccines this year, that 13% number is going to expand exponentially and very rapidly, especially considering that there's not likely to be any meaningful safety testing on that new fastrack H1N1 vaccine. And once it really sinks in that vaccines can hurt people sometimes, because it will be all over the news just like in 1976, maybe then the people who like to believe we are crazy will have to consider the possibility that "Holy crap! The parents were right all along!"

Carol

I don't know if they're losing. Creating confusion about something which is kind of obvious could be considered winning--or at least not losing.

The tobacco companies used the same strategy. They hoped that if the public thought there was a genuine scientific debate about whether or not smoking caused cancer, people would throw up their hands and continue to smoke. And the same PR firm that designed that strategy is a player here.

Of course, the truth will come out in the end, but what do the drug companies care? They'll pay a fine and say oops. There are no important consequences. It's not like anyone's going to end up in jail.

Here's what happened in 8th grade today

My daughter gave a presentation in her Expressive Arts class today about vaccines/autism/& her brother's regressive autism.

She showed before and after video via home movies, offered a bunch of information about vaccines (facts and figures) and plugged Generation Rescue, Age of Autism, and The National Autism Association. A lengthy conversation ensued following her presentation. A boy in her class (he has aspergers and his father is a physician) agreed vaccines are an issue (he said his mom agrees) and he shared a story about a cousin who just had a baby and his mother is very concerned about that baby getting vaccinated. He said she feels the parents should wait to vaccinate, and to investigate vaccines for themselves and if they choose to vaccinate do so armed with information.

My daughter has been opening up about autism and vaccines and her brother a lot this year in her classes. A girl in her class has a 17 month old sister. She spoke up and said she urged her mother to research vaccines more throughly and to wait and to spread them out when she does get them from what she has heard through my daughter.

So today in the 8th grade a group of kids discussed vaccines and autism. Even 8th graders know vaccines are a huge concern regarding the autism epidemic!

Jeffry

@ bensmyson: Extreme labels? I guess one could make the spiritual jump to call us terrorists as has been implied in many episodes on television such as Law and Order, blogs, and MSM outlets.

But, then again, I ask, what is the difference between what they are doing and what the Nazis did in WWII? This movement is deeply rooted in Eugenics.

Laura

A friend sent me the link to that Gross article (pun intended!) and I read it. The fact that she put "recovered" in quotes when she mentioned Jenny's son Evan made me angry. Yep, I'm definitely in the 13%!

Lenny Schafer

Good piece, JB!
I get a kick out of the vaccine cult analysis that if only they would get their
spin right, us trailer park bimbo lemmings would follow them off a cliff instead
of being bedazzled by Jenny McCarthy's wits or tits. And because we're idiots,
we are not able to sort the shit from shinola on the internet, doncha know.

But the CDC admits that the greatest pockets of vaccine non-compliance in the US
happens around the bedroom communities of the well-educated professional
classes. How, exactly are the vaccine cultists going to win us over with finely
tweaked propaganda if they can't agree amongst themselves who we are and why we
think the way we do?

This is one reason why our message is winning and theirs are going the way of GM
and Chrysler.

Terri Lewis

Maggie,

I'm with you.

There's this denial/pretending/acting like they (doctors) don't know, but they really do. And they have known for a very long time. . .long enough for tens of thousands of kids to get autism (or a couple hundred thousand, if you count the milder cases).

Look at Dr. Sears' recent article right here at AOA.

Even "if" a link is found (wink, wink, nudge, nudge) there are *some* doctors (almost all, apparently) who are okay with the fact that a "small" percentage of children will suffer permanent damage.

And so it continues.

Parents can't (or don't) make informed decisions, because they, too, are in denial. They really, really want to believe the lie that the chances of something "going wrong" if they vaccinate are tiny, tiny, tiny, and that they must, must, must vaccinate or their child is likely to DIE from some terrible disease.

Until parents themselves are willing to give up this crazy thinking. . .it will continue to continue. . .

Still. . .13% has to be counted as progress. . .wish I hadn't joined that 13% the hard way.

MMR reactions

http://www.wptv.com/news/local/story/MMR-vaccinations-being-brought-to-court/fKRqinuFqEa98NV35OvLKA.cspx

Can we join the Canadians in a class action lawsuit?

nhokkanen

J.B., you are so right about parents hearing vaccine injury reports in their own back yards. Or on the front sidewalk. Or at work.

And Jeffry, thanks for mentioning "engineered consent." Too many people are willing to be spoon-fed misinformation from public health administrators; as long as they find the words compelling, then accuracy is secondary.

Anne Dachel

A MILLION HITS! That's a lot of people worried about vaccinations. That's a lot of people who don't just accept the mantra "Vaccines are safe, vaccines save lives."
Anne Dachel

Maggie

The fact that vaccines cause autism has been known for quite a while (way before you son was born). My son born was born in 1999 and was fully vaccinated until early 2000. In 2001, when I was seeking help through doctors, therapist, etc., ALL the parents in the waiting room opening discussed vaccines being the cause. I even remember watching a DAN conference on TV in 2001. In 2002, when my son was in preschool, we mothers sat around talking about mercury, vaccines, chelation, DAN,etc. BTW, 2 of the mother were doctors and 1 was married to a doctor. It was KNOWN, especially among doctors. I'll bet your son's pediatrician even knew. The information was out there for those who sought it, I, sadly, did not seek it and that's why my son has autism.

Bob Moffitt

The United States has had more than 4 million births a year since 2000. That translates into an awful lot of parents, grandparents, uncles, aunts, cousins, neighbors, friends...etc...etc.

If the CDC STILL hasn't identified why 1 in 6 American children suffer some type of early childhood (chronic-autoimmune) development problems..that 58% of the people who have at least some doubts regarding the "safety" of vaccines is going to grow..and...grow.

Why hasn't the CDC "updated" this figure? Is it now 1 in 4 or 1 in 10? Surely if it is 1 in 10 the CDC would be reporting their success?

The end of present vaccine maddness cannot come quick enough for me.

bensmyson

From the article written by Lisa Gross in the medical journal PLoS Biology titled, “A Broken Trust: Lessons from the Vaccine–Autism Wars.” http://www.plosbiology.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pbio.1000114

“Hecklers were issuing death threats to spokespeople,” Kaufman exclaims, “people who simply related the scientists' findings.” To a researcher with a keen eye for detecting major cultural shifts, these unsettling events signaled a deeper trend. “What happens when the facts of bioscience are relayed to the public and there is disbelief, lack of trust?” Kaufman wondered. “Where does that lead us?”

So is this going to be the new tactic to attempt to silence the opposing view? Extremists? Are we all a bunch of "extremists?" Every time the words "anti-vaccine" is used from now on it will follow with the word extremist, thanks to the assassination of that abortionist in Kansas by the "anti-abortion extremist". Every time the word extremist is linked to the parents of children with autism, another brick is stuck in our pockets as we struggle to tread the waters drowning our children.

With your study showing that the 58% of the US adult population either believe vaccines cause autism or are not sure if they do or do not has to, as you said, panic a few people who are being paid to counter that with books and print articles and flawed research. They are losing BIG.

Thanks JB for the fourteen studies, I would hope that someone with more of an understanding of science than I have will post the link on the PLoS Biology article's comments section. My posts there keep being deleted for one reason or another.

Jeffry

I find it convenient hit pieces are correographed beautifully to major events... almost as if by chance. I believe Edward Bernays would be proud of his final product he has created, as mainstream media has learned well.

Parents are waking up to the fact that (a health)war has been declared on the Children of the United States and the Children of the World.

What 'Evidence-Based-Medicine' doesn't realize is that we have more passion and more drive on this issue. Their code speak relies on double entendres that allow them to frolic unmolested for their actions, viewpoints, and thus any moral responsibility and/or obligation to remedy the issue.

When consent can no longer be engineered...then the real fight begins.

Tanners Dad

JB Great Post. Kim this one should be linked in a current issue heading on the sidebar or in the Papers, Reports, Info section. There are so many points to twitter and tell your office mates. I was really hoping to meet you at AutismOne and shake your hand JB. You are a great advocate for our children. Thank You!

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