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Would you believe: prevention of cancer; inhibition of immunosuppression; a treatment for Jetlag; for serving as a potent body  antioxidant; as therapy for preventing the progression of Alzheimer’s disease and other neurodegenerative disorders and  also as the familiar use as a sleep aid.

Undoubtedly many DK readers will have no interest in reading this Diary although, since so many persons in the general public are seemingly very much interested in cancer prevention and also have sleep problems  I would not be able to fathom as to why that just a few DKers at the least might not choose to learn something of potential value for them from this Diary especially since almost all DKers would not have access to the source data at :


 without being a registered member.

Disclosure: Having read Anton Bursch’s Diary “How to get on the Daily Kos Recommended List” on Wed Apr 24, 2013 I state here that my interest and enjoyment in publishing Diaries to The Daily Kos Community section lies predominately in providing a source of data that I assume that most DKers would not encounter in the course of their daily readings. By writing such Diaries there are no ulterior motivations on my part, such as making the Recommended List. Rather, it is my sincere hope that at least one DKer might gain some personal useful knowledge from what is written.
 Harkening back to Anton’s  Bursch’s article just mentioned please all note that I certainly can not muster a state of”passion” for my Diary subject after alleging above, that” many DK readers will have no interest in reading this Diary.”
So, for the few and intrepid with even a modicum of interest please venture below the squiggle.

About Melatonin per se.

Melatonin, as I expect that readers may well know, is secreted by the Pineal gland, which is located in the brain, after being synthesized there.                                            Normally, the hormone is secreted during the night and secretion gets turned off during daylight.

“ There appears to be a general mechanism by which the hormone melatonin regulates gene expression to link the central circadian pacemaker and peripheral tissues, resulting in modulation of circadian and seasonal                                            rhythms.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Tissues endowed with fully characterized functional MT1 and MT2 melatonin receptors include the retina, brain, suprachiasmatic nucleus, pars tuberalis, ovaries, cerebral and peripheral arteries, kidney, pancreas, adipocytes and immune cells [Dubocovich and Markowska, 2005; Dubocovich et al. 2010]"

                                                                                                                             The Target Tissues of melatonin in humans.

"Pancreatic islets [Peschke et al. 2007] and adipocytes [Brydon et al. 2001] express melatonin receptors. MT1 and MT2 melatonin receptors & have been detected in peripheral and cerebral arteries [Ekmekcioglu, 2006]. MT1 melatonin receptor localization in the arterial wall and hippocampal microvasculature of normal subjects and patients with Alzheimer's disease suggest involvement of melatonin in the regulation of cerebral blood flow [Savaskan et al. 2001]. In the vascular system melatonin evokes opposite responses, as it potentiates vasoconstriction through MT1 and induces vasodilatation via MT2 receptors [Dubocovich et al. 2010]. Melatonin receptors have also been detected in the human kidney [Drew et al. 1998]. Melatonin membrane receptors are expressed in lymphocytes and are involved at least in part in regulating immune responses [Pozo et al. 2004].

Membrane melatonin receptors appear to be involved in melatonin's oncostatic effect. Prostate tumor and breast cancer cells express melatonin receptors [Dillon et al. 2002; Gilad et al. 1999; Rögerlsperger et al. 2011]. Colon cancer cells also express melatonin receptors [Nemeth et al. 2011], melatonin's oncostatic action being mediated primarily through activation of MT1 melatonin receptors.
Melatonin-mediated effects are time dependent, with the efficacy of melatonin being probably dependent on the diurnal sensitivity of MT1 and MT2 melatonin receptor expression. The in-depth study of melatonin receptor function will facilitate discovery and development of novel agents[see *2. below] for the treatment of sleep, circadian, metabolic and endocrine disorders, as well as tumor cell growth.

Melatonin may contribute to the conservation of DNA integrity and may thus be involved in cancer prevention. Other research data show that the hormone is a natural oncostatic agent, being involved in protection from the development of malignant neoplasms. As such, Melatonin may soon find clinical applications as it has been successfully used in cancer therapy and in the management of the adverse effects of anticancer therapy.
Mode of Action of Melatonin."                                                                                   Melatonin’s mode of action has been worked out. However, that action mode  is quite complex and I do not feel that a review of it would be  appropriate to this Diary or particularly helpful to any reader.

Melatonin and Circadian Rythms.  .                                                                                                                        “Melatonin resynchronizes the disordered circadian rhythms and induces sleep in people with delayed sleep phase syndrome and in shift workers.                                                                                                           Ramelteon and agomelatine are melatonin receptor agonist drugs that have been developed.[*2.] They have a longer half life and higher affinity for melatonin receptors than melatonin itself, and research has shown that they have great potential for the management of biological rhythm disorders.”  
                                                                                                                              Melatonin and Neurodegenerative Disorders.
“ Studies in mice show that melatonin administration may inhibit the appearance of neural cell abnormalities and the attendant memory disturbance which are observed in Alzheimer's disease. Continuous light exposure in rats induces the appearance of changes related to those observed in Alzheimer's disease while melatonin administration protects against their appearance [Ling et al. 2009]. In humans with Alzheimer's disease, disorders in melatonin secretion and biological rhythm disorders are observed.
                                                                                                                                  Melatonin may be used therapeutically for the resynchronization of the biological rhythms and the prevention of histological changes in Alzheimer’s disease [Olcese et al. 2009]. Melatonin has a potential therapeutic value as a neuroprotective agent in Parkinson's disease, amyotropic lateral sclerosis, Huntington’s disease and brain trauma [Pandi-Perumal et al. 2012; Rothman and Mattson, 2012; Srinivasan et al. 2011a].”
                                                                                                                                   However it is to be noted that,” clinical trials using melatonin are warranted before its relative merits as a neuroprotective agent are definitively established.”


Melatonin is a hormone with multiple actions. It is involved in the regulation of biological rhythms, in sleep regulation, it has potent antioxidant action and protects the organism from carcinogenesis and neurodegenerative disorders. The hormone possesses immune-enhancing activity. Therapeutically, it may be used for the management of insomnia, jet lag, the resynchronization of circadian rhythms, as an adjuvant in cancer therapy and in the inhibition of disease progression in Alzheimer's disease and other neurodegenerative disorders.


For many years, going back to age 17, my sleep pattern approximated that of the Shift Worker. As a Naval Hospital Corpsman starting in 1946 I from time to time worked an 11 PM to 7 AM on ward duty shift. From start of college and thru medical school on some nights I was up to midnight studying and some nights, preparing for major tests, I would pull an “all-nighter”. During my surgical training Residency years I would get so sleepy during the daytime that on one occaission I fell asleep while standing up in a group discussion concerning a patients care. I was very embarrassed when I bounced of a nearby wall.  
                                                                                                                                  Also in my clinical practice years I would be called out at night when on call.  
                                                                                                                             So, the above text outlines a history for me of years of fragmented sleep and then that was not helped, when in my seventies I was diagnosed with “sleep apnea”. Hence it was probably for many preceding years that I had been experiencing multiple, during the night, awakenings without even being aware of them.  
                                                                                                                                  Now in my eighties my prostate gland is small secondary to Proton beam radiation for cancer however that likely led to some shrinkage in urinary bladder size also as manifested by several urinary needed trips to the bathroom nightly and…. therein lay yet another sleep problem for me.  
After returning to bed I would regularly lay awake for hours or up reading a book. So, for any reader that has during the night insomnia, and that is not rare with age alone, you can note my personal solution as follows:
  At my first awakening , usually around 2:00AM, I take 5 milligrams of quick dissolving melatonin. I make sure, bed out to bed back in, to remain in the dark and with melatonin plus darkness I am soon asleep again. The melatonin effects are good for any subsequent bathroom excursions during the same night also.
My understanding is that melatonin is virtually harmless to take and after reading the article, which was the source for this Diary, I am delighted to know of all of its other potential beneficial effects for me also.

DISCLAIMER: This Diary is informational only. It is not to be construed as providing medical advice or directions to any reader.


Do you suffer from any sleep disorder?

80%70 votes
12%11 votes
6%6 votes

| 87 votes | Vote | Results

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Comment Preferences

  •  Fascinating diary. Thanks! (8+ / 0-)

    I voted for the human beings.

    by denig on Sun Apr 28, 2013 at 04:53:43 PM PDT

  •  As someone who works nights (6+ / 0-)

    and has to sleep in the daytime, I tried melatonin.

    It gave me very vivid very weird dreams, and not the good kind.

    I have crazy enough dreams on any normal day, so I had to stop taking it.

    I've known other people who experienced the same side effect.

    If the pilot's good, see, I mean if he's reeeally sharp, he can barrel that baby in so low... oh you oughta see it sometime. It's a sight. A big plane like a '52... varrrooom! Its jet exhaust... frying chickens in the barnyard!

    by Major Kong on Sun Apr 28, 2013 at 05:12:41 PM PDT

    •  I dream, too (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      blueoasis, Catte Nappe

      But I know I'm dreaming and they're not too weird - I always seem to be dreaming about work, but every once in awhile it'll be strange (like last week - sitting on an inner tube, wearing clothes and cowboy boots, floating down a river full of alligators... somebody told me the cowboy boots would keep them away - that was definitely weird - I know better - I live in Florida!)  

      I only take 1/2 a tablet at night - lately I've been using that Midnite for Menopause, which is very low dose Melatonin - only take 1/2 of one of those, too.  Dreams are less vivid than straight melatonin and I don't feel as groggy if I only get to sleep for about 6 hours.  If I know I can sleep in, I'll take the regular melatonin.  

      I've suffered from the "change" insomnia for a couple of years - since I started taking the melatonin, I'm getting better sleep and I can fall back to sleep without staring at the ceiling for hours.  

      "Focusing your life solely on making a buck shows a certain poverty of ambition. It asks too little of yourself. Because it's only when you hitch your wagon to something larger than yourself that you realize your true potential." - Barack Obama

      by Ricochet67 on Sun Apr 28, 2013 at 06:19:40 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Ricochet67My Medical Practice was with University (0+ / 0-)

        students. Given that age group i had very little experience with patients with menopausal symptoms. Given that, I would refer the very rare menopausal patient to Gynecology specialists.
        In adjusting  dosage ,as you do, I do the same thing as well as adjusting timing of medication intake to best suit control of my symptoms.
        I am very much for patients being very active in their personal care and sharing results with their physicians.

    •  I've been taking it nightly for years (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      historys mysteries, FiredUpInCA

      with no apparently increased incidence of dreaming. My wife has taken it without such effects, but she finds it leaves her sluggish the next day, so she stopped.

      The GOP can't win on ideas. They can only win by lying, cheating, and stealing. So they do.

      by psnyder on Sun Apr 28, 2013 at 06:43:59 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Major K:Crazy Dreams with Melatonin use (0+ / 0-)

      Yes! I have experienced that also but will point out that crazy, annoying dreams have also occurred for me just on anti depressant medications alone.
      I have not researched that phenomena as yet but I suspect that the dreams could be undesired side effect of neurotropic medications.
      In my case I continue the Melatonin for the seemingly greater good, for me, of continuing to take it.

  •  Thanks! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    phonegery, historys mysteries

    I am going to try it!

  •  An interesting aspect of the story is (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    concerns of scrapie-contaminated melatonin in the poorly regulated nutritional supplements market, but don't worry, as far as you know, the FDA is on it:

    A range of research projects into the exact nature of both the BSE agent and other TSE agents is ongoing. Available scientific information indicates that these agents are extremely resistant to inactivation by normal disinfection or sterilization procedures. A number of dietary supplement products use bovine-derived tissues or extracts of such tissues as ingredients. These ingredients include, for example, specific tissues and organs or their extracts (e.g., liver powder, "orchic" extracts, ovaries, eye tissue, mammary
     tissue), glandular powders or extracts (e.g., adrenal gland, thyroid gland), or specific substances extracted from glands or tissues (e.g., melatonin extracted from the pineal gland).

    At a future date, we will contact you with guidance on how best to provide
    assurance that your products do not contain potentially BSE-infected

    FDA alert from 1996

    Haven't really found any follow up to that, i.e., "how best to ensure that the products do not contain potentially BSE-infected materials . . .  "

    But I'm sure they've taken care of it behind the scenes . . .  

    •  Scary, isn't it? (6+ / 0-)

      bovine encephalopathy from mad-cow diseased glands.  Now that will keep me up at night.  

      It's the Supreme Court, stupid!

      by Radiowalla on Sun Apr 28, 2013 at 05:31:27 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  O lawd! And I was just getting excited. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Roadbed Guy, isabelle hayes

        Maya Angelou: "Without courage, we cannot practice any other virtue with consistency. We can't be kind, true, merciful, generous, or honest."

        by JoanMar on Sun Apr 28, 2013 at 05:50:08 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  He, hey, ha. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        JoanMar, flowerfarmer

        Not if the melatonin has the effect that this diary claims . . . .  (is this an example of irony?).

        I went on a brief melatonin kick in the mid 90's - during the height of the BSE mania - until somebody pointed out where it came from.

        I learned about Jell-O about the same time

        Dear Cecil:

        How is gelatin made?

        A friend of mine said he visited a "gelatin factory" where he saw cow skins piled to the ceiling. The skins are left to putrefy or "cure" for about a month, during which time they're overrun by rats, mice, and insects. The stench, my friend said, is unforgettable.

        After the hides are ripe, a tractor pushes them into a vat of acid that disintegrates the cow hairs, skin, cartilage, rat excrement, etc., into a nice, tasty, homogenized gel.

        Can this be true? I've been fortunate enough not to have had gelatin since childhood but there are a lot of people out there trying to strengthen their nails.

        — Victor D.

        Cecil replies:

        Victor, what's the problem here?

        but I still eat that . . .
        •  Why????? (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Roadbed Guy

          I love Jello!!!!

          Maya Angelou: "Without courage, we cannot practice any other virtue with consistency. We can't be kind, true, merciful, generous, or honest."

          by JoanMar on Sun Apr 28, 2013 at 06:37:04 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Roadbed Guy: Re, " whats the problem here"? (0+ / 0-)

          Before I was even of "tween" age, my Auntie told me that, "We all have to eat a pound of dirt before we die". With that in mind I have been considering composing a Diary to be titled something like, Sh-t is more than just dead intestinal bacteria!

    •  Don't worry about it. In 1996 BSE was a big deal. (0+ / 0-)

      Now they got rid of MBM feed and it's not a serious problem.

      •  Yeah, I'm sure they did (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        in the countries listed in the FDA link I gave.

        Of note, China wasn't on the list.  But now supplies just about everything of this sort (often through opaque supply chains that are almost impossible to unravel).

        Of course, enough people have probably taken mall melatonin by now to not have to worry about this, but who knows?

        •  China did ban MBM in cow feed. Enforcement (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Roadbed Guy

          can clearly be an issue there. But serious contamination in melatonin is rather unlikely even if sick animals were used in its production. Melatonin shouldn't contain any proteins at all and in reality contains very little. And the infectious agent for BSE is protein.

    •  Hey Roadbed Guy, Thanks for your information. (0+ / 0-)

      Basically I am a talk rather than fight sort of guy. As such I am not really very 'scrappy' ( ie,& so far not "Scrapie" infected.[ snark])
      I suspect that you are well aware of the extensiveness of the medical research literature and as such how hard it is to keep up with it. At my age and being retired I try to focus on what is published that relates to self & family. I did not know about the Scrapie bit however.
      For other DKers info: Scrapie may in general be known in relation to "Mad Cow Disease". Originally, as far as I know it was contracted by Tribals whoes custom was to eat brains of human deceased. In some cases the deceased brain tissue was Scrapie diseased.

  •  Geez! Better than Carter's Little Liver Pills. (3+ / 0-)

    Because I have a big liver I don't take them, of course.

    Too late for the simple life, too early for android love slaves - Savio

    by Clem Yeobright on Sun Apr 28, 2013 at 05:33:51 PM PDT

  •  In general, there seems to be a correlation (3+ / 0-)

    between disrupted sleep cycle and earlier onset of Alzheimer's disease. So it is entirely possible that restoring sleep cycle with melatonin will be somewhat beneficial if done early enough (e.g. decades before the onset of disease). However, as the Medscape says we need clinical trials to see if it's actually effective. A lot of things are supposed to work and in the end don't.

    •  FG," supposed 2 work & in the end don't"... (0+ / 0-)

      ... as you know, if we don't will we know.     This is why the Sequestration of funds, currently in effect for medical & other scientific research galls me.
      I don't give a fig that members of our Federal Congress had to sit for hours in VIP Lounges in airports waiting for their flights to board.

  •  Why I will not read this diary: (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Because this:

    Undoubtedly many DK readers will have no interest in reading this Diary although, since so many persons in the general public are seemingly very much interested in cancer prevention and also have sleep problems  I would not be able to fathom as to why that just a few DKers at the least might not choose to learn something of potential value for them from this Diary especially since almost all DKers would not have access to the source data at
    Needs to be at least 3 sentences, but constructed of 20% fewer total words.

    To put the torture behind us is, inevitably, to put it in front of us.

    by UntimelyRippd on Sun Apr 28, 2013 at 08:23:54 PM PDT

    •  I bin waiting 4 U,"UntimelyR". Indeed U R IMO... (0+ / 0-)

      only thingy worthwhile 2 me in UR comment about, "the torture behind us", which suggests 2 me seemingly that someones hemorrhoids are burning them. If not that, be it OCD that manifest here?

      I will take liberty here to relate some detail about what some Diary commentators do that burn me up:

      1.The commenter who: Is concerned more with Diary writing form than with any of the Diaries informational content  .                                                          2.Who: Leaves the Diaries subject matter completely to comment instead of writing their own  Diary.                                                                       3. Who uses spelled out profanity seemingly only for its attention getting propensity other than IMO for a Diaries subject matter's needs.
      4. Who: do not mention "the handle" of the person's comment to which they are replying. This without taking into account that their reply comment may not appear until after many other comments at which point it may no longer be apparent to whom it is they are replying. .   5. Who: do not return to what they Diaried or commented on to follow up on any questions or
      comments.                                                              6. Who: label people, such as calling them "insane" without having any professional training to make such a judgement on .                                                       . 7. Who mention DK writing features such as "Spell Check" use without bothering to instruct in how one goes about accessing that.                                                8. Who do not document from whence they quote as best they can. 9.Who: make no attempt to differentiate between writing what is Fact or clearly making it known what is the writer's Opinion.

      To mention only a few of My annoyances.

      DKers you are hearby invited to list your own.  

      •  You incorporated in your diary a semi-snide (0+ / 0-)

        dig/whine/complaint that not enough people on dkos would want to read your diary.

        I responded to your complaint.

        I hate to break it to you, but those English teachers you hated in high school, and those history profs in college who "unfairly" took points off your history paper because of careless use of language, were right. The quality of your technique affects the way your communications are received and treated by your audience.

        To put the torture behind us is, inevitably, to put it in front of us.

        by UntimelyRippd on Mon Apr 29, 2013 at 09:25:40 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  UntimelyR:"The quality of UR technique affects ... (0+ / 0-)

          ...the way your communications are received and treated by your audience."

          Granted and accepted! Indeed, for a Memoir that I have with a publisher right now I pay for a professional editor to handle what U R referring to.

 interest in what I Diary and publish to DK, my  primary interest that is, lies in conveying information. I do not intend to be intimidated into not writing at all because of my deficiencies in format , some misspellings & faulty grammar, nor do I accuse you of doing that.

          I have noted in the past a Diary, by an non English as a first language writer, of his first Diary which was commented on favorably and he was encouraged to write again despite writing deficiencies.                    Therefore I suspect that how a Diary is accepted by some DKers is also, besides language,  also influenced by the readers mood. Readers mood is not something that I am responsible for however.
          I am notorious 4 run on sentences as I do & have admitted previously . When I attempt to break them up by using commas & parentheses I have been attacked for that. Yes I do feel attacked & particularly when the commenter makes absolutely no comment on Diary topic thrust. I choose to see this as abuse & I note that it also occurs on computer Forums where pundits(?) get down right  nasty when irritated.

          I do write Diaries first on Word 2010 and do spell check them there. I do not however know how to recheck by using the DK Spell Check which I have been told in comment, on a previous Diary, supposedly exists.                                                                   On word my text layout does not have the crazy right ended start of sentences that appear when on DK when I save and edit and I do not myself have any way to correct for that any more than I seem to be being allowed to correct for my not being able to comment directly.

          I do not use word for  Commenter replies and then copy and paste my reply to the comment section from Word.

          I never finished High School. While there however, English, obviously to you [ not without justification] was not my best subject. My grammar in particular was/is particularly atrocious i sadly admit.
           Well, nuff said. I feel better for it and I hope, if you return, you will also.

  •  Another thing it's good for is strokes... (0+ / 0-)
    Researchers in Hong Kong report that the hormone melatonin, more commonly used to reduce the effects of jetlag, could protect the brain from the effects of stroke.
    They say that an injection of melatonin (5g/kg) given within two hours of the stroke can reduce the amount of
    damage to the brain tissue.

    Recent research has shown that melatonin may also protect against stroke. However researchers wanted to
    assess the benefits of the hormone, produced by the pineal gland in the brain, when taken after the stroke
    Article here.
    I first heard about it about 6 years ago. A co-worker who went to a homeopathic guy (for allergies and general health) said that he had heard about it via a research study in Australia. One day he felt the early signs of stroke, took some melatonin and got himself to the hospital. The doctor there scoffed at the suggestion that he might have had a stroke. Further tests indicated that he did - and not just a mild one. But he suffered almost no damage from the stroke.
    Here's another citation (though only an abstract).
    If hospitals could administer melatonin when a victim gets to the hospital it might save not only lives, but body functions.
    Nature's an amazing thing!

    Isn’t it ironic to think that man might determine his own future by something so seemingly trivial as the choice of an insect spray. ~ Rachel Carson, Silent Spring ~

    by MA Liberal on Mon Apr 29, 2013 at 06:14:43 AM PDT

  •  I go through occasional periods of restless sleep (0+ / 0-)

    And I've found that taking melatonin facilitates sound sleep throughout the nite.  I don't have to take it regularly and it seems to be more effective when I don't.  The effects kick in about 1/2 hour after taking it and wear off about 8 hours later with no residual grogginess.

    My wife was complaining about waking up and having trouble falling back to sleep.  She tried it and while she would still wake up, she would go right back to sleep.

    I much prefer taking it over even considering one of the big pharma, prescription based, concoctions that have been known to cause people do things like drive cars while asleep.

    •  noway2 re. "drive cars while asleep." (0+ / 0-)

      and I can ad that event to my adverse sleep history. I feel asleep in mid day while driving my car. Fortunately, I had slowed down to turn into my drive just before the event and only hit a very small tree with a thin bendable trunk.
      Damage to car however needed body repair though I was unhurt.

  •  Not all rosy with melatonin... (0+ / 0-)

    While purported benefits of melatonin are readily publicized by the mainstream culture, what tends to get disregarded is the evidence on adverse events. For example, melatonin had been linked to hypertension, inflammation in certain diseases, the release of some stress hormones, metabolic disruption, higher mortality, etc. (review ). Based on these data, it indicates that melatonin supplements maybe shouldn't be generally used on a longterm schedule.

    •  I don't quite understand your link... (0+ / 0-)

      it takes me to a page on tryptophan, not melatonin.  Do you want to check it?

      Maybe this will help?

      Welcome from the DK Partners & Mentors Team. If you have any questions about how to participate here, you can learn more at the Knowledge Base or from the New Diarists Resources Diaries. (Click on orange text to go to linked content.) Diaries labeled "Open Thread" are also great places to ask. We look forward to your contributions.

      Words can sometimes, in moments of grace, attain the quality of deeds. --Elie Wiesel

      by a gilas girl on Tue Apr 30, 2013 at 11:30:22 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Clarification (0+ / 0-)

        The link does go to an article on tryptophan. However, since melatonin is an end product of the amino acid the article does cover melatonin too to some extent. Please read the entire article and you'll find what my initial message was conveying.

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