Project Earthrise: From Healing to Flourishing for the Health of People, Places and Planet (Celebrating the 10th Annual Conference of inVIVO Planetary Health, 2021)

A special issue of Challenges (ISSN 2078-1547).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 October 2022) | Viewed by 47580

Special Issue Editors


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Guest Editor
1. School of Medicine, University of Western Australia, Nedlands, WA 6009, Australia
2. ORIGINS Project, Telethon Kids Institute at Perth Children’s Hospital, Nedlands, WA 6009, Australia
3. NOVA Institute for Health of People, Places and Planet, 1407 Fleet Street, Baltimore, MD 21231, USA
Interests: planetary health; ecological and social justice; immunology and inflammation; microbiome science; NCDs (noncommunicable diseases); nutrition; life-course wellness and ‘DOHaD’ (development origins of health and disease); integrative approaches to wellness and disease prevention
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

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Guest Editor
1. Nova Institute for Health, Baltimore, MD 21231, USA
2. Department of Family and Community Medicine, Center for Integrative Medicine, University of Maryland School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD 21201, USA
Interests: integratve medicine; pain management

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Guest Editor
Center for Social Epidemiology & Population Health (CSEPH, Emeritus), School of Public Health, University of Michigan, Oakland, CA 94611, USA
Interests: population health; health disparities; complex systems

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Guest Editor
Department of Pediatrics, University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB T6G 1C9, Canada
Interests: microbiome science; early-life exposome; DOHaD (developmental origins of health and disease); maternal psychosocial health

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

We are organizing a Special Issue in Challenges for the publication of the Proceedings of the 2021 inVIVO Planetary Health Annual Conference. This virtual meeting will be held on 1–7 December 2021.

You are invited to submit papers presented at the 10th Annual Conference of inVIVO Planetary Health (https://www.invivoplanet.com/2021-meeting.html), for publication in Challenges. Participants of this conference, and inVIVO members, will receive a 100% discount on the Article Processing Charges.

We also welcome outside submissions that focus on understanding and improving the complex relationships between human health and planetary health

Prof. Dr. Susan L. Prescott
Prof. Dr. Brian Berman
Prof. Dr. George A. Kaplan
Prof. Dr. Anita L. Kozyrsky
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Challenges is an international peer-reviewed open access quarterly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1400 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • planetary health
  • ecology, biodiversity, ecosystems
  • social and ecological justice, health disparities, socioeconomic inequalities
  • integrative ecological solutions, mutualism
  • environmental degradation, biodiversity loss, climate change
  • urban landscapes, natural environments, nature-relatedness
  • green space, green prescriptions, biodiversity interdependence, cooperation, integration
  • dysbiotic drift, the microbiome, anthropogenic ecosystems
  • microbial ecosystems, microbial diversity, disease associations
  • inflammation and noncommunicable diseases (NCDs)
  • mental health, emotions and wellbeing, solastalgia, ecological grief
  • food systems, nutrition, food processing and nutritional ecology, planetary diets
  • lifestyle and the exposome, systems biology, machine leading, personalized medicine, preventive medicine, bio-psychosocial medicine, high-level wellness
  • life-course (developmental origins), transgenerational perspectives, epigenetics
  • value systems, cultural shift, narrative medicine, neoliberalism, storytelling, belief systems, traditional cultures, spirituality

Published Papers (12 papers)

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13 pages, 405 KiB  
Article
Ecological Bodies and Relational Anatomies: Toward a Transversal Foundation for Planetary Health Education
by Robert Richter and Filip Maric
Challenges 2022, 13(2), 39; https://doi.org/10.3390/challe13020039 - 9 Aug 2022
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 3025
Abstract
As planetary health education enters medical and health professional training, transversal implementation across curricula is critical in developing its full potential and enabling future health professionals to meet the social, environmental, and health challenges of current and future generations in an integrated manner. [...] Read more.
As planetary health education enters medical and health professional training, transversal implementation across curricula is critical in developing its full potential and enabling future health professionals to meet the social, environmental, and health challenges of current and future generations in an integrated manner. To advance the transversal implementation of planetary health education, our study proceeded through: (1) a sequence analysis of documents framing physiotherapy education to identify relevant nexus points; (2) an explorative implementation of planetary health into foundational anatomy and physiology modules identified as critical nexus points; (3) practical implementation during the 2021 autumn semester. Implementation in the operative foundations of healthcare education—anatomy and physiology—enables the emphasis of the ecological nature of human bodies and interconnection with our planetary environment. Musculoskeletal joints accentuate the relational nature of bodies highlighted across current research and traditional knowledges, as dynamically pervaded and in interaction with culture, technology, objects, ideas, plants, planets, etc. Teaching relational anatomies thus highlights planetary health as the transversal foundation of medical and healthcare education. Making this foundation more explicit will be critical for the transversal implementation of planetary health education and subsequent practice, as well as the fundamental shifts in our understanding of human lives and health they require. Full article

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15 pages, 2511 KiB  
Conference Report
No Health without Mental Health: Taking Action to Heal a World in Distress—With People, Places, and Planet ‘in Mind’
by Susan L. Prescott, Jeffrey M. Greeson, Mona S. El-Sherbini and The Planetary Health Community Convened by the Nova Institute for Health
Challenges 2022, 13(2), 37; https://doi.org/10.3390/challe13020037 - 4 Aug 2022
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 4740
Abstract
The unprecedented global rise in mental anguish is closely linked with the erosion of our social fabric, economic and political systems, and to our natural environments. We are facing multiple new large-scale threats to health, safety, and security, with a growing lack of [...] Read more.
The unprecedented global rise in mental anguish is closely linked with the erosion of our social fabric, economic and political systems, and to our natural environments. We are facing multiple new large-scale threats to health, safety, and security, with a growing lack of trust in others and in authorities. Pervasive stress, anxiety, depression, and uncertainty are of a nature and scale we have never seen before—manifesting in surging violence, community breakdown, domestic abuse, opioid and other drug overdoses, social isolation, and suicides—with alarming new mental health trends in children and young people. This has been made worse by the COVID-19 pandemic and amplified by an exponential increase in the amount and immediacy of information propagated through electronic media—often negative with manipulative intent aimed at dividing opinions through anger and fear. At the same time, there has been progressive erosion of kindness, civility, compassion, and social supports. Here, in this report from a “campfire” meeting held by the Nova Institute for Health, we discuss the importance of understanding the complexity of these interrelated threats which impact individual and collective mental health. Our dialog highlighted the need for efforts that build both individual and community resilience with more empowering, positive, and inspiring shared narratives that increase purpose and belonging. This includes placing greater value on positive assets that promote awareness and resilience, including creativity, spirituality, mindfulness, and nature connection—recognizing that ‘inner’ transitions contribute to shifts in mindsets for ‘outward’ transformation in communities and the world at large. Ultimately, these strategies also encourage and normalize mutualistic values that are essential for collectively improving the health of people, places, and the planet, by overcoming the destructive, exploitative worldviews which created so many of our current challenges in the first place. Full article
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9 pages, 260 KiB  
Viewpoint
The Need to Prioritize Prevention of Viral Spillover in the Anthropopandemicene: A Message to Global Health Researchers and Policymakers
by Yusuf Amuda Tajudeen, Habeebullah Jayeola Oladipo, Rashidat Onyinoyi Yusuf, Iyiola Olatunji Oladunjoye, Aminat Olaitan Adebayo, Abdulhakeem Funsho Ahmed and Mona Said El-Sherbini
Challenges 2022, 13(2), 35; https://doi.org/10.3390/challe13020035 - 3 Aug 2022
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 4178
Abstract
Increased anthropogenic activities including changes in land use and unrelenting ecosystem services related to animal husbandry, wildlife trade, and deforestation are driving the emergence of viral zoonosis. This is primarily due to human–animal interaction which is facilitating the spillover of viral zoonotic pathogens [...] Read more.
Increased anthropogenic activities including changes in land use and unrelenting ecosystem services related to animal husbandry, wildlife trade, and deforestation are driving the emergence of viral zoonosis. This is primarily due to human–animal interaction which is facilitating the spillover of viral zoonotic pathogens from animals (domestic and wildlife) to humans that could result in epidemics or pandemics. Scientific reports so far have revealed that viral epidemics and pandemics in recent years such as H1N1 Swine Influenza, H5N1 Avian Influenza, Ebola, Zika, Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), and the ongoing SARS-CoV-2 were all zoonotic, and their emergence has been linked with spillover events arising from human–animal interaction. This increased interaction and the increased spillover event could facilitate future pandemic risk, and the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services, “IPBES”, has declared this “the era of pandemics”. Furthermore, since future pandemics would be triggered by anthropogenic activities, we have called this “anthropopandemicene”, i.e., an era of pandemics driven by anthropogenic activities. To minimize the risk of future pandemics, it is important to prioritize the prevention of viral spillover events. Here, we outline five priority areas for global health researchers and policymakers. These areas include improvement of biosecurity at livestock farms, imposing a moratorium or strictly banning wildlife trade that poses a public health risk, conservation of biodiversity by halting deforestation, investing in community-based research for infectious disease control, and strengthening community healthcare systems in precarious ecosystems and infectious diseases hotspots. Finally, we acknowledge the efforts of other renowned global and legally binding frameworks such as IHR, the Paris Agreement, and CITES with regard to addressing the public health risk of infectious diseases, and we provide recommendations for their improvement. Full article
10 pages, 242 KiB  
Viewpoint
The Right to Make Mistakes? The Limits to Adaptive Planning for Climate Change
by Andrew Kirby
Challenges 2022, 13(1), 25; https://doi.org/10.3390/challe13010025 - 6 Jun 2022
Viewed by 2076
Abstract
While the UN recognizes the right of individuals “to take risks and make mistakes”, there are reasons to question whether this right can be universal. In the context of a changing climate, it is imperative that individuals have access to a safe and [...] Read more.
While the UN recognizes the right of individuals “to take risks and make mistakes”, there are reasons to question whether this right can be universal. In the context of a changing climate, it is imperative that individuals have access to a safe and sustainable environment; yet we must ask if this covenant is broken if people choose to place themselves in harm’s way. In its first part, this paper explores outcomes of climate change denial, manifested as continued migration to dangerous locations, and skepticism for adaptive strategies. The second half of the paper explores how localities can create a false narrative concerning risks, and asks whether communities also have a right to make mistakes? Full article
10 pages, 258 KiB  
Viewpoint
Planetary Health and Traditional Medicine: A Potential Synergistic Approach to Tackle Antimicrobial Resistance
by Iyiola Olatunji Oladunjoye, Yusuf Amuda Tajudeen, Habeebullah Jayeola Oladipo and Mona Said El-Sherbini
Challenges 2022, 13(1), 24; https://doi.org/10.3390/challe13010024 - 1 Jun 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 4332
Abstract
Antimicrobials are compounds that impede the activities of bacteria, viruses, parasites, or fungi. Continuous antimicrobial overuse, misuse, and improper use for human, animal, and agricultural purposes are raising concerns about antibiotic residue pollution in the environment, and antibiotic resistance genes (ARGs). Because antimicrobial-resistant [...] Read more.
Antimicrobials are compounds that impede the activities of bacteria, viruses, parasites, or fungi. Continuous antimicrobial overuse, misuse, and improper use for human, animal, and agricultural purposes are raising concerns about antibiotic residue pollution in the environment, and antibiotic resistance genes (ARGs). Because antimicrobial-resistant diseases are linked to human–-microbial ecosystems, environmental pollution from antibiotic residue and ARGs alters the makeup and diversity of human gut microbiota, putting resistance under selection pressure. This perspective proposes that antibiotic-induced microbiome depletion is linked to environmental quality and has repercussions for human health via the gut microbiome’s sensitive ecosystem. This has stimulated new global efforts and multidisciplinary, integrative approaches to addressing Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) awareness in communities. Several academic papers published in recent years have shown that medicinal plant extracts are effective against diseases on WHO’s pathogen priority lists (PPL), such as the ESKAPE pathogens (Enterococcus faecium, Staphylococcus aureus, Klebsiella pneumoniae, Acinetobacter baumannii, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, and Enterobacter species). Traditional medicine, with its knowledge of medicinal plants, promises to be a valuable source of next-generation powerful antimicrobials. Examples include the recent discovery of Artemisinin, a highly active antimalarial drug derived from Artemisia annua, and the discovery of Taxol, an active chemotherapeutic drug derived from the bark of the Pacific yew, Taxus brevifolia. The connections between small and large ecosystems’ vitality, biodiversity protection, and human health have been acknowledged by Planetary Health principles. To address these intertwined concerns, a Planetary Health and Traditional Medicine approach can be adopted, and antimicrobial resistance can be addressed by expanding the screening of medicinal plants for bioactive compounds. Full article
6 pages, 3164 KiB  
Viewpoint
A Spirit of Place
by Ava Carney
Challenges 2022, 13(1), 20; https://doi.org/10.3390/challe13010020 - 10 May 2022
Viewed by 1820
Abstract
This article charts the effects of community, public space, and transdisciplinary interaction on the author’s artistic practice. By considering some of the broader societal and ideological implications of situating artwork in a natural setting, A Spirit of Place reflects on connection points between [...] Read more.
This article charts the effects of community, public space, and transdisciplinary interaction on the author’s artistic practice. By considering some of the broader societal and ideological implications of situating artwork in a natural setting, A Spirit of Place reflects on connection points between public art and ecological citizenship. Full article
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12 pages, 1936 KiB  
Viewpoint
Planetary Health: We Need to Talk about Narcissism
by Alan C. Logan and Susan L. Prescott
Challenges 2022, 13(1), 19; https://doi.org/10.3390/challe13010019 - 7 May 2022
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 4516
Abstract
Concepts of planetary health attempt to collectively address the biological, psychological, social, and cultural factors contributing to “Anthropocene Syndrome”, which encompasses the many wicked interrelated challenges of our time. It is increasingly evident that the wide array of causative factors is underpinned by [...] Read more.
Concepts of planetary health attempt to collectively address the biological, psychological, social, and cultural factors contributing to “Anthropocene Syndrome”, which encompasses the many wicked interrelated challenges of our time. It is increasingly evident that the wide array of causative factors is underpinned by attitudes, values, and worldviews. Emerging research suggests that certain dispositions or ‘traits’—observable along the continuum from individuals to large groups—may be central to the promotion of health of all systems, at all scales. Here in this viewpoint, we focus on the personality trait of narcissism in the collective context of planetary health. First described in 1852 by pioneering psychiatrist Joseph Guislain, the Mania of Narcissus refers to ‘the patient infatuated with his beauty, his charms, his wit, dress, talents, and birth’. We argue that Guislain’s observations are not restricted to the clinical setting, and that a larger-scale narcissism can interfere with the principles of planetary health. We propose that increasing narcissism, at scales ranging from the individual to the collective, is an important consideration in attitudes and behaviors that undermine health along the continuum of person, place, and planet. Despite a growing body of research directed at collective narcissism, and the role that empathy plays in healthy relationships between humans and nature, it is our contention that the role of narcissism and empathy are important but neglected aspects of the planetary health agenda. Full article
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8 pages, 231 KiB  
Viewpoint
Human Flourishing in the Era of COVID-19: How Spirituality and the Faith Sector Help and Hinder Our Collective Response
by Jeff Levin
Challenges 2022, 13(1), 12; https://doi.org/10.3390/challe13010012 - 17 Mar 2022
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 3834
Abstract
Throughout the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, religious people and institutions have played a significant role in responding to the challenges that we all have faced. In some instances, religion has been a source of great harm, hindering the global response. Many religious leaders have [...] Read more.
Throughout the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, religious people and institutions have played a significant role in responding to the challenges that we all have faced. In some instances, religion has been a source of great harm, hindering the global response. Many religious leaders have promoted misinformation and disinformation; others have promulgated messages of hatred and blame, especially hindering efforts to prevent infection and community transmission and to promote immunization. This has occurred throughout the world, across cultures, religions, and nations. In many other instances, however, the faith sector has been a source of great help, ministering to the lives of suffering and fearful people both emotionally and tangibly. People of faith, including clergy and faith-based organizations, have contributed positively to the global response effort by fulfilling the pastoral, ethical, and prophetic roles of religion. Expressions of spirituality, both personal and institutional, have thus contributed to great flourishing in the midst of a terrible public health emergency. Full article
12 pages, 268 KiB  
Perspective
Can Suboptimal Visual Environments Negatively Affect Children’s Cognitive Development?
by Alexandros A. Lavdas and Nikos A. Salingaros
Challenges 2021, 12(2), 28; https://doi.org/10.3390/challe12020028 - 9 Nov 2021
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 3514
Abstract
There are indications that children born during the period of COVID-19 lockdown have cognitive development issues, without having been affected by the virus. We discuss here the idea that environmental deprivation—and, especially, the lack of appropriate visual stimulation—might be one source of these [...] Read more.
There are indications that children born during the period of COVID-19 lockdown have cognitive development issues, without having been affected by the virus. We discuss here the idea that environmental deprivation—and, especially, the lack of appropriate visual stimulation—might be one source of these defects. This thought is in line with previous findings in children brought up in orphanages with poor environmental stimulation, hypothesizing that the minimalist architectural style prevailing for the last several decades is among the potential contributing factors. The process of eliminating organized complexity characteristic of organic forms may prove to be detrimental for humanity’s future, providing suboptimal environmental stimulation and opportunities for interaction during the critical stages of brain development. Full article
9 pages, 722 KiB  
Opinion
The Importance of Domestic Space in the Times of COVID-19
by Marco Aresta and Nikos A. Salingaros
Challenges 2021, 12(2), 27; https://doi.org/10.3390/challe12020027 - 19 Oct 2021
Cited by 9 | Viewed by 5278
Abstract
This essay discusses a deep malaise of contemporary architecture, made more obvious by experiencing COVID-19 lockdowns for several months. Evidence-based arguments urge society to improve human health and well-being by re-considering the design of interior and exterior spaces. So far, predictions of how [...] Read more.
This essay discusses a deep malaise of contemporary architecture, made more obvious by experiencing COVID-19 lockdowns for several months. Evidence-based arguments urge society to improve human health and well-being by re-considering the design of interior and exterior spaces. So far, predictions of how design will “improve” after COVID-19 just continue business-as-usual, ignoring accumulated evidence. Yet, the negative emotional experience of families cooped up during the pandemic reveals the failure of the standard approach to designing spaces. An architecture that adapts to human biology and psychology starts with the relatively new understanding of people interacting unconsciously with their environment and broadens it. A traditional design toolkit, augmented by the latest technology, can generate healing spaces as judged by their ability to enhance users’ subjective well-being. We recommend implementing specific design innovations to achieve this goal—replacing industrial-minimalism with biophilic and neuro-based design and using documented patterns that trigger feelings of happiness in users. Full article
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14 pages, 1212 KiB  
Viewpoint
Wise Ancestors, Good Ancestors: Why Mindfulness Matters in the Promotion of Planetary Health
by Alan C. Logan, Susan H. Berman, Richard B. Scott, Brian M. Berman and Susan L. Prescott
Challenges 2021, 12(2), 26; https://doi.org/10.3390/challe12020026 - 9 Oct 2021
Cited by 9 | Viewed by 4270
Abstract
The concept of planetary health blurs the artificial lines between health at scales of person, place, and planet. It emphasizes the interconnected grand challenges of our time, and underscores the need for integration of biological, psychological, social, and cultural aspects of health in [...] Read more.
The concept of planetary health blurs the artificial lines between health at scales of person, place, and planet. It emphasizes the interconnected grand challenges of our time, and underscores the need for integration of biological, psychological, social, and cultural aspects of health in the modern environment. Here, in our Viewpoint article, we revisit vaccine pioneer Jonas Salk’s contention that wisdom is central to the concept of planetary health. Our perspective is centered on the idea that practical wisdom is associated with decision-making that leads to flourishing—the vitality and fullest potential of individuals, communities, and life on the planet as a whole. The SARS-CoV-2 pandemic has illustrated the acute consequences of unwise and mindless leadership; yet, wisdom and mindfulness, or lack thereof, is no less consequential to grotesque biodiversity losses, climate change, environmental degradation, resource depletion, the global burden of non-communicable diseases (NCDs), health inequalities, and social injustices. Since mindfulness is a teachable asset linked to both wisdom and flourishing, we argue that mindfulness deserves much greater attention in the context of planetary health. Full article
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12 pages, 257 KiB  
Viewpoint
Reducing the Use of Antimicrobials as a Solution to the Challenge of Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR): Approaching an Ethical Dilemma through the Lens of Planetary Health
by Samuel O. Abimbola, Melvine Anyango Otieno and Jennifer Cole
Challenges 2021, 12(2), 23; https://doi.org/10.3390/challe12020023 - 13 Sep 2021
Cited by 11 | Viewed by 4909
Abstract
Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is one of the greatest challenges facing humanity in the 21st century. Controlled dispensation of antimicrobial drugs is the most echoed solution among many that have been postulated to counter this problem. However, the life-impacting significance of antimicrobials makes this [...] Read more.
Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is one of the greatest challenges facing humanity in the 21st century. Controlled dispensation of antimicrobial drugs is the most echoed solution among many that have been postulated to counter this problem. However, the life-impacting significance of antimicrobials makes this approach a very complex one, which must be considered under the lens of health and planetary ethics. As the problem of AMR is not peculiar to only a few people, the right to know the risk, as well as decisions as to when and how antimicrobials are used should, not be granted to only a few decision makers, but be used as drivers to advance planetary health knowledge in a way that benefits individuals, society, and future generations. Within an ethical framework, implementing policies that extend the efficacy period of antimicrobials should be considered in a way that balances range, choice, and quality of drugs against stewardship activities. The challenge of AMR cannot be eliminated completely by reduced use of antimicrobials only; understanding how, where and when reduction is necessary, and social structures and patterns (as well as existing health and government systems) are required if any global/national intervention would be successful and equitable. We may well have gone past the stage of adopting precautionary principles as the danger we face presents no iota of uncertainty. The measures to control AMR’s emergence and its spread are well presented. Nevertheless, we must not ere from the path of justice and equity even in the face of certain danger. Full article
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