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Complete Guide to Medical Alert Systems – Things to Consider Prior to Buying a Medical Alert System

Complete Guide to Medical Alert Systems – Things to Consider Prior to Buying a Medical Alert System

While there are many resources available to aid in choosing a medical alert system, not all of them are able to address your exact needs. Everybody has their own list of questions, and as such, it can be difficult to find one place that has a comprehensive list of all the information you need. This article doesn’t claim to be a comprehensive list, but it may be able to plant some seeds of thought to help you ask your own questions.

Location

When trying to find a suitable medical alert device, it is important to bear in mind where you will be residing and whether you still leave the home or not. Are you living in your own home? Are you fixed in one address, or do you move around?

Are you homebound? This is a great starting point when asking questions, as the answer will greatly narrow down the suitable medical alert systems. If the answer to this question is “yes,” then there is another question to ask. Where are you homebound? Are you living in an apartment building? A house? These answers will also narrow the pool of medical alert devices that will work for you.

Are you mobile? If you aren’t homebound, are you mobile? Do you have a primary residence as well as other places you visit (cottage, your children’s homes, etc.)? If the answer to this is yes, then your options for medical alert systems may be limited to mobile device-based systems. Two such options are the Philips Lifeline Go Safe system and the Safety Labs Safety Anchor-PA system. Options that require you to be in one place won’t work if you have plans to move around outside a primary residence. Systems that can function even outside the home will be needed.

Monitoring, 911 and Family

Is the family interested in being active participants in the safety and monitoring of the individual? If the answer to this is yes, it needs to be understood that they are not responsible for the safety of the individual, but rather that they would like to be “in the know” and up to date with information regarding their loved one. If this is a priority, a couple of great options would be Safety Labs Safety Anchor-PA or MobileHelp. These systems permit chosen family members to log in and keep tabs on the safety of their loved one.

Who receives the medical alerts? This is an important consideration when choosing a system that is right for you. Would an alert to family, friends and 911 be sufficient, or would a monitoring service be a better choice? If you have special needs and require specialized interactions, a monitoring service may be a good fit. Otherwise, systems such as Safety Labs Safety Anchor-PA (for use anywhere) or Logic Mark Freedom Alert (for use around the home) would be sufficient choices.

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Installation and Management

While it’s not a question that affects the quality of the safety device, it’s still important to ask whether installation and management of the system is something you can do on your own. Most medical alert systems are easy to install and maintain – such as Safety Labs Safety Anchor-PA, Logic Mark Freedom Alert and Freeus Belle 3G mPERS. For systems that require more involved installation and personalization, it may be necessary to call the company for help.

One-time and Ongoing Costs

Some financial considerations are necessary when looking at medical alert options. Should you rent the system or purchase it outright? Does the system have a monthly fee? Do you have to buy the hardware? Does it have a battery? If so, how long does it last before needing replacement?

Some systems have long-lasting batteries, but those batteries will need replacing once the charge runs out. Other systems, like the Freeus Belle 3G mPERS, have rechargeable batteries. This is a simple pendant that doesn’t need a base unit for use. It comes with a charger for the pendant and takes only about 3 hours for a full charge. It can last up to 30 days on a single charge, and when it runs out, you can just place it back in the charger until it is ready to go again – at no additional cost to you!

If the system is something that will be used short-term – for less than a year – it may be in your best interest, financially, to rent. However, if it will be used longer than a year, you may want to consider purchasing the system.

Most medical alert companies, such as Philips Lifeline Go Safe, offer their hardware for free but do require a monthly fee for use of the service. On the other hand, companies like Safety Labs Safety Anchor-PA and Logic Mark Freedom Alert require purchase of the system but have no monthly fees!

Additional Features You Should Look For

Fall Detection – This is a feature that some systems have. These systems claim to be able to identify if the individual has fallen. If the system believes a fall has taken place, an auto alert is sent. This may seem like an attractive feature, but it is important to keep in mind that this feature hasn’t been proven effective by any 3rd party labs, and relying on this feature can provide a false sense of security.

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Health/Wellness Monitoring – Health monitoring looks at things like sleep quality, activity level, medication schedules, etc. Health and safety certainly go hand-in-hand, but as of now, there are not many systems which bridge the gap between health monitoring and safety. MobileHelp and GreatCall both merge medical alerts with special features to maintain wellness. MobileHelp allows for medication reminders on its base unit. GreatCall’s Lively Wearable watch allows for activity tracking via a step counter and also has accompanying software which provides fun mental challenges! Keep your eyes open in the coming years for new advancements that might make it easier for more companies to better link these two needs together.

Peace of mind is priceless. The cost of safety, the quality of safety, the look of safety and the function of safety are all important things to consider when looking at which medical alert system will work best for you. It’s not a decision you should jump into quickly, and hopefully this guide will provide you with some valuable information to help you inch closer to your safety goals.

Which Are Currently the Leading Medical Alert Systems?

Safety Labs Anchor-PA is a system that works with internet and Bluetooth and can work anywhere you have access to the internet and WiFi. Because the button links up with smart phones, the system will be able to help provide safety everywhere. It also allows loved ones to proactively check the safety status of the individual wearing the button. They can log in online (from a computer or an easy-to-use app) and check the individual’s location and even the time of the last update. In the case of an emergency, the individual would press their button. This would send an alert to the Safety Anchor, which would forward the alert to a “monitoring station/911” and to any pre-selected individuals. The system can even be personalized to include multiple people who would receive information should the button be pushed – including location information.

Features: Medical Alert Button, Home and On the Go, Family Monitoring and Alert Option, Easy Set Up, Monthly Fee $3.99, Start Up Cost $198, Battery Life up to 1 year, Wearable, Ability to Locate Individual.

Philips Lifeline Go Safe is a system with a wearable medical alert necklace which (when home) connects to an In-Home-Communicator called a Lifestation, and when outside the home, connects wirelessly to a Lifeline response center. It uses “Assisted GPS, Wi-Fi Enhanced Locating and Intelligent Bread Crumbs” to give information about location to the Lifeline response center. The pendant is also equipped with a two-way voice function. This allows the individual to communicate directly with the Lifeline alert responder. Another feature it provides is Fall Detection with Auto Alert. This means that the device attempts to predict if the individual has fallen and will alert the Lifeline response center with location information. From there, the response center makes a call to emergency services. The responder will also send a signal to the pendant to emit a loud alarm so that if the person is out of sight, emergency responders will easily be able to find them.

Features: Medical Alert Button, Home and On the Go, Easy Set Up, Monthly Fee $54.95 – $64.95, Start Up Cost $149, Battery Life up to 7 days – Rechargeable (can charge while worn), Wearable, Ability to Locate Individual, Fall Detection, Two Way Voice Feature.

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Logic Mark Freedom Alert is a system which uses a two-way pendant communicator on a medical alert necklace. It has three distinct settings which allow for personalized options as to whom the alert is sent to. The first setting sends the alert directly to 911. The second setting allows you to call up to four different contacts of your choice. The third and final option allows for both things to happen simultaneously. The system will call your desired contacts, but even if none of them are available, you still have the assurance that 911 has been notified. This system does have a wide connectivity range, but it is not suitable for use while out and about. Its intended application is in and around the house.

Features: Medical Alert Button, Home Use Only, Family Monitoring and Alert Option, Easy Set Up, No Monthly Fee, Start Up Cost $180 – $270, Battery Life up to 6 months – Rechargeable, Wearable, Two Way Voice Feature

Freeus Belle 3G mPERS is a system which uses a two-way pendant communicator. It doesn’t require the use of a base station or a landline and comes with a charger for the pendant. It takes about 3 hours to charge, and once it is charged it will last up to 30 days. It can be used both inside and outside the home (in the United States), wherever there is cellular service. Upon pushing the alert button on the pendant, a call will be sent to a care specialist – the specialists are available 24/7. Once the call has been placed, the care specialist has access to the individual’s name as well as information as to if they are at home or not. From there, the situation will be assessed and the care specialist will either send family or emergency service providers (ambulance, fire fighters, etc.).

Features: Medical Alert Button, Home and On the Go, Family Alert Option, Easy Set Up, Monthly Fee $25 – $35, Start Up Cost $229, Battery Life up to 1 month – Rechargeable, Wearable, Two Way Voice Feature

MobileHelp is a company that gives you options. MobileHelp Classic is a system that gives you in-home protection. It’s a simple medical alert system that doesn’t require the use of a landline phone. It comes with a base station and either a wrist button or a neck pendant. Upon pushing the button, the MobileHelp team will notify emergency services as well as pre-selected loved ones. MobileHelp Solo is an option which works both at home and away from home. It is similar to the Classic option in that it can be worn as either a medical alert necklace or a medical alert bracelet. But, the difference is that there is no main home base. You have the freedom to go where you’d like, and with the system’s GPS technology, responders can find exactly where you are once the alert has been sent. Both of these options are compatible with the MobileHelp Fall Button, which is an “automatic fall detection” button. There are no hardware costs, but there are fees for use. MobileHelp also offers the option of using their MobileHelp Connect feature. This allows for loved ones to have access to information (alerts, location etc.). For additional fees, you can also add on medication reminders (which require the use of the home base unit) and activity tracking!

Features on Classic option: Medical Alert Button, Home Use Only, Family Monitoring and Alert Option, Easy Set Up, Monthly Fee $29.95, No Start Up Cost, Battery Life up to 5 years, Wearable, Wellness Features Available

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Features on Solo option: Medical Alert Button, Home and On the Go, Family Monitoring and Alert Option, Easy Set Up, Monthly Fee $37.95, No Start Up Cost, Battery Life up to 5 years, Wearable, Ability to Locate Individual, Wellness Features Available.

GreatCall is another company that gives you options. There are two available models for safety medical alert systems from GreatCall. They offer one called the Lively Urgent Response Device and another called Lively Wearable. Lively Wearable works through your smart phone and is mainly a fitness device. However, it also comes equipped with a built-in emergency alert system. In the case of an emergency, you would push the button. From there one of GreatCall’s agents will respond through your smart phone. Your location will be confirmed, and if the situation calls for it, emergency services will be sent. The button can be worn either in a wrist band or as a pendant. The product is accompanied by a free app which provides a daily step count and fun mental challenges. Lively Wearable also has a fall detector. There is both a fee for the hardware and a monthly usage fee. Then there’s the Lively Urgent Response Device. Similar to Lively Wearable, this product is a wearable button (medical alert jewelry). The difference is that this device is a two-way pendant communicator (meaning no smart phone is needed for contact). Once you push the button in an emergency situation, you will be connected to an agent who can identify your location (through the built-in GPS) and send help accordingly. There is also software which allows loved ones to keep tabs on what is going on. It is a rechargeable unit which lasts approximately one day, so it’s suggested that you charge it every night.

Features on Lively Urgent Response Device: Medical Alert Button, Home and On the Go, Family Monitoring and Alert Option, Easy Set Up, Monthly Fee $19.99 – $34.99, Start Up Cost $49.99, Battery Life up to 1 day – Rechargeable, Wearable, Ability to Locate Individual, Fall Detection Option, Two Way Voice Feature

Features on Lively Wearable: Medical Alert Button, Home and On the Go, Family Alert Option, Easy Set Up, Monthly Fee $14.99, Start Up Cost $49.99, Battery Life up to 6 months, Wearable, Ability to Locate Individual, Fall Detection, Wellness Features Available.

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Last Updated on November 12, 2020

Why You’re Feeling Tired All the Time (and What to Do About It)

Why You’re Feeling Tired All the Time (and What to Do About It)

If you find that you’re feeling tired all the time, it’s important to understand that it’s a common problem for many. With all of the demands of daily life, being tired seems to be the new baseline. In fact, two-fifths of Americans are tired most of the week.[1]

If you’re tired of feeling exhausted, then I’ve got some great news for you. New research is helping us gain critical insights into the underlying causes of feeling tired all the time.

In this article, we’ll discuss the latest reasons why you’re so tired and practical steps you can take to finally get to the bottom of your fatigue and feel rested.

What Happens When You’re Too Tired

If you sleep just two hours less than the normal eight hours, you could be as impaired as someone who has consumed up to three beers.[2] And you’ve probably experienced the impact yourself.

Here are some common examples of what happens when you’re feeling tired:[3]

  • Trouble focusing because memory and learning functions may be impaired.
  • Experience mood swings and an inability to differentiate between what’s important and what’s not.
  • Dark circles under your eyes and/or your skin make look dull and lackluster in the short term and over time your skin may get wrinkles and show signs of aging because your body didn’t have time to remove toxins during sleep.
  • Finding it more difficult to exercise.
  • Immune system may weaken, causing you to pick up infections more easily.
  • Overeating because not getting enough sleep activates the body’s endocannabinoids, even when you’re not hungry.
  • Metabolism slows down, so what you eat is more likely to be stored as belly fat.

Why Are You Feeling Tired All the Time?

Leading experts are starting to recognize that there are three primary reasons people feel tired on a regular basis: sleep deprivation, fatigue, and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS).

Here’s a quick overview of each common cause of fatigue and feeling tired all of the time:

  1. Tiredness occurs from sleep deprivation when you don’t get high-quality sleep consistently. It typically can be solved by changing your routine and getting enough deep, restorative sleep.
  2. Fatigue occurs from prolonged sleeplessness, which could be triggered by numerous health problems, such as mental health issues, long-term illness, fibromyalgia, obesity, sleep apnea, or stress. It typically can be improved by changing your lifestyle and using sleep aids or treatments, if recommended by your physician.
  3. Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) is a medical condition also known as Myalgic Encephalomyelitis that occurs from persistent exhaustion that doesn’t go away with sleep.

The exact cause of CFS is not known, but it may be due to problems with the immune system, a bacterial infection, a hormone imbalance, or emotional trauma. It typically involves working with a doctor to rule out other illnesses before diagnosing and treating CFS.[4]

Always consult a physician to get a personal diagnosis about why you are feeling tired, especially if it is a severe condition.

You can learn more about some causes of fatigue in this video:

Feeling Tired Vs Being Fatigued

If lack of quality sleep doesn’t seem to be the root cause for you, then it’s time to explore fatigue as the reason you are frequently feeling tired.

Until recently, tiredness and fatigue were thought to be interchangeable. Leading experts now realize that tiredness and fatigue are different.

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Tiredness is primarily about lack of sleep. However, fatigue is a perceived feeling of being tired that is much more likely to occur in people who have depression, anxiety, or emotional stress and/or are overweight and physically inactive[5].

Symptoms of fatigue include:

  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Low stamina
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Anxiety
  • Low motivation

These symptoms may sound similar to those of tiredness, but they usually last longer and are more intense.

Unfortunately, there is no definitive reason why fatigue occurs because it can be a symptom of an emotional or physical illness. However, there are still a number of steps you can take to reduce difficult symptoms by making a few simple lifestyle changes.

How Much Sleep Is Enough?

The number one reason you may feel tired is because of sleep deprivation, which means you are not getting enough high-quality sleep.

Research suggests that most adults need 7 to 9 hours of high-quality, uninterrupted sleep per night[6]. If you’re sleep deprived, the amount of sleep you need increases.

Get the right amount of sleep to stop feeling tired.

    The key to quality sleep is being able to get long, uninterrupted sleep cycles throughout the night. It typically takes 90 minutes for you to reach a state of deep REM sleep where your body’s healing crew goes to work.

    Ideally, you want to get at least 3 to 4 deep REM sleep cycles in per night. That’s why it’s so important to stay asleep for 7 or more hours.

    Research also shows that people who think they can get by on less sleep don’t perform as well as people who get at least seven hours of sleep a night[7]

    If you are not getting 7 hours of high-quality sleep regularly, then sleep deprivation is the most likely reason you feel tired all the time. That is actually good news because sleep deprivation is much simpler and easier to address than the other root causes.

    It’s also a good idea to rule out sleep deprivation as the reason why you are tired before moving on to the other possibilities, such as fatigue or Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, which may require a doctor for diagnosis and treatment.

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    4 Simple Changes to Reduce Fatigue

    Personally, I’m a big believer in upgrading your lifestyle to uplift your life. I overcame chronic stress and exhaustion by making these four changes to my lifestyle:

    1. Eating healthy, home-cooked meals versus microwaving processed foods or eating out
    2. Exercising regularly
    3. Using stressbusters
    4. Creating a bedtime routine to sleep better

    After I made the 4 simple changes in my lifestyle, I no longer felt exhausted all of the time.

    I was so excited that I wanted to help others replace stress and exhaustion with rest and well-being, too. That’s why I became a Certified Holistic Wellness Coach through the Dr. Sears Wellness Institute.

    Interestingly enough, I discovered that Dr. Sears recommends a somewhat similar L.E.A.N. lifestyle:

    • L is for Lifestyle and means living healthy, including getting enough sleep.
    • E is for Exercise and means getting at least 20 minutes of physical activity a day, ideally for six days a week.
    • A is for Attitude and means thinking positive and reducing stress whenever possible.
    • N is for Nutrition and means emphasizing a right-fat diet, not a low-fat diet.

    The L.E.A.N. lifestyle is a scientifically-proven way to reduce fatigue, get to the optimal weight, and to achieve overall wellness.[8]

    Living Healthy

    Getting enough high-quality sleep every day is the surefire way to help you feel less fatigued, more rested, and better overall.

    In fact, if you aren’t getting enough sleep, your body isn’t getting the time it needs to repair itself; meaning that if you are suffering from an illness, it’s far more likely to linger. In fact, long-term sleep deprivation has been linked to an increase in Alzheimer’s later in life[9].

    As unlikely as it sounds, though, fatigue can sometimes make it difficult to sleep. That’s why I’d recommend taking a look at your bedtime routine before you go to bed and optimize it based on sleep best practices.

    Here are 3 quick and easy tips for creating a pro-sleep bedtime routine:

    1. Unplug

    Many of us try to unwind by watching TV or doing something on an iPhone or tablet. However, tech can affect your melatonin production due to the blue light that they emit, fooling your body into thinking it’s still daytime. This won’t help you stop feeling tired all the time.

    Try to turn off all tech one hour before bed and create a tech-free zone in your bedroom.

    2. Unwind

    Use the time before bed to do something you find relaxing such as reading a book, listening to soothing music, meditating, or taking an Epsom salt bath.

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    3. Get Comfortable

    Ensure your bed is comfortable and your room is set up for sleep.

    Make sure you room is cool. 60-68 degrees is the ideal temperature for most people to sleep. Also, it’s ideal if your bedroom is dark and there is no noise.

    Finally, make sure everything is handled (e.g., laying out tomorrow’s clothes) before you get into your nice, comfy bed. If your mind is still active, write a to-do list to help you fall asleep faster.[10]

    This article also offers practical tips to build a bedtime routine: How to Build a Good Bedtime Routine That Makes Your Morning Easier

    Exercise

    Many people know that exercise is good for them, but they just can’t figure out how to fit it into their busy schedules.

    That’s what happened in my case, but when my chronic stress and exhaustion turned into systemic inflammation (which can lead to major diseases like Alzheimer’s), I realized it was time to change my sedentary lifestyle.

    I decided to start swimming because it was something I had always loved to do. Find an exercise you love and stick to it to stop feeling tired all the time. Ideally, get a combination of endurance training, strength training, and flexibility training during your daily 20-minute workout.

    If you haven’t exercised in a while and have a lot of stress in your life, you may want to give yoga a try as it will increase your flexibility and lower your stress.

    Attitude

    Stress may be a major reason why you aren’t feeling well all of the time. At least that was the case with me.

    When I worked 70 hours per week as a High-Tech Executive, I felt chronically stressed and exhausted, but there was one thing that always worked to help me feel calmer and less fatigued: Breathing.

    But not just any old breathing. It was a special form of deep Yogic breathing called the “Long-Exhale Breathing” or “4-7-8 breathing” (or “Pranayama” in Sanskrit).

    Here’s how you do Long-Exhale Breathing:

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    1. Sit in a comfortable position with your spine straight and your hand on your tummy.
    2. Breathe in deeply and slowly from your diaphragm with your mouth closed while you count to 4 (ideally until your stomach feels full of air).
    3. Hold your breath while you mentally count to 7 and enjoy the stillness.
    4. Breathe out through your mouth with a “ha” sound while you count to 8 (or until your stomach has no more air in it).
    5. Pause after you finish your exhale while you notice the sense of wholeness and relaxation from completing one conscious, deep breath.
    6. Repeat 3 times, ensuring your exhale is longer than your inhale so you relax your nervous system.

    This type of “long-exhale breathing” is scientifically proven to reduce stress.

    When your exhale is twice as long as your inhale, it soothes your parasympathetic nervous system, which regulates the relaxation response.[11]

    Nutrition

    Diet is vital for beating fatigue if you’re feeling tired all the time – after all, food is your main source of energy.

    If your diet is poor, then it implies you’re not getting the nutrients you need to sustain healthy energy levels, which may lead to daytime sleepiness.

    Eating a diet for fatigue doesn’t need to be complicated or time-consuming though. For most people, it’s just a case of swapping a few unhealthy foods for a few healthier ones, like switching from low-fiber, processed foods to whole, high-fiber foods.

    Here’re 9 simple diet swaps you can make today:

    1. Replace your morning coffee with Matcha green tea and drink only herbal tea within six hours of bedtime.
    2. Add a healthy fat or protein to any carb you eat, especially if you eat before bed.
    3. Fill up with fiber, especially green leafy vegetables.
    4. Replace refined, processed, low-fiber pastas and grains with zucchini noodles and whole grains such as buckwheat, quinoa, sorghum, oats, amaranth, millet, teff, brown rice, and corn.
    5. Swap natural sweeteners for refined sugars, and try to ensure you don’t get more than 25g of sugar a day if you are a woman and 30g of sugar a day if you are a man.
    6. Replace ice cream with low-sugar alternatives.
    7. Swap omega-6, partially-hydrogenated oils such as corn, palm, sunflower, safflower, cotton, canola and soybean oil for omega-3 oils such as flax, olive, and nut oils.
    8. Replace high-sugar yoghurts with low-sugar, dairy-free yoghurts.
    9. Swap your sugar-laden soda for sparkling water with a splash of low-sugar juice.

    Also, ensure your diet is giving you enough of the daily essential vitamins and minerals. Most of us don’t get enough Vitamin D, Vitamin B-12, Calcium, Iron, and Magnesium. If you are low on any of the above vitamins and minerals, you may experience fatigue and low energy.

    That’s why it’s always worth having your doctor check your levels. If you find any of them are low, then try to eat foods rich in them.

    Alternatively, you might consider a high-quality multivitamin or specific supplement.

    The Bottom Line

    If you are tired of feeling tired all the time, then there is tremendous hope.

    If you are tired because you are not getting enough high-quality sleep, then the best remedy is a bedtime routine based on sleep best practices. If you are tired because you have stress and fatigue, then the best remedy are four simple lifestyle changes discussed above.

    Overall, adopting a healthier lifestyle is the ideal remedy for feeling more rested and energized.

    More Tips to Stop Feeling Tired All the Time

    Featured photo credit: Cris Saur via unsplash.com

    Reference

    [1] YouGov: Two-fifths of Americans are tired most of the week
    [2] National Safety Council: Is Your Company Confronting Workplace Fatigue?
    [3] The New York Times: Why Are We So Freaking Tired?
    [4] Mayo Clinic: Chronic fatigue syndrome
    [5] Very Well Health: Differences Between Sleepiness and Fatigue
    [6] Advanced Sleep Medicine Services: NEW Guidelines: How much sleep do you need?
    [7] Mayo Clinic: Lack of sleep: Can it make you sick?
    [8] Ask Dr. Sears: The L.E.A.N. Lifestyle
    [9] National Institute on Aging: Sleep loss encourages spread of toxic Alzheimer’s protein
    [10] American Psychological Association: Getting a Good Night’s Sleep
    [11] Yoga International: Learning to Exhale: 2-to-1 Breathing

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