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Homeopathy

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Also listed as: Sports homeopathy
Related terms
Background
Evidencetable
Tradition
Safety
Attribution
Bibliography
Interactions
Dosing

Related Terms
  • 2LHERP, Acidum ascorbicum, Acidum malicum, aconite, Antimonium crudum, Apis mellifica 9 CH, Argentum nitricum, Arnica CH5, Arnica D12, Arnica D30, avia-more, Baden-Baden (German), Barium jodatum D4, Barium jodatum D6, Belladonna 7cH, Belladonna 30C, Belladonna 30CH, Bellis perennis, Betula 30C, bryonia, Calendula officinalis, canova, Cantharis, Cantharis 30C, Capsicum annuum, Carboneum sulphuratum, cheblin-CK-1, Cinnabaris 3X, Cinnabaris D3, Crataegus preparation, Engystol®, Eupatorium perfoliatum D2, Euphorbium compositum® nasal drops SN, faryngomed, Ferrum muriaticum, Formica rufa D6, Galphimia dilution, Galphimia glauca, Galphimia potentiation D6, Gripp-Heel®, Guajacum officinale, Heel GmbH, homeopathic, homeopathic Arnica montana, homeopathic histamine, homeopathic pathogenetic trials, homeopathic preparation Ignatia amara, Kalium bicromicum D4, law of similars, like cures like, Luffa operculata D4, Nickel sulfate 3X, Nitricum acidum 7CH, No-Shift-Lag®, Nux vomica D200, Okoubaka D3, opium, Oscillococcinum®, Otovowen®, Phytolacca americana, Piper methysticum, Plumbum metallicum 30C, Potassium bromide 1X, pumpan, Raphanus, Reliéva®, Ruta graveolens, Sinfrontal®, sinusitis PMD, Sodium bromide 2X, Sodium chloride 6X, Spiroflor SRL gel (SRL)®, succussion, Tabacum, Thyroidinum 30cH, Traumeel S®, Traumeel S® ointment, Tuberculinum D200, ultramolecular dilution, Vertigoheel®, vital force, xiao qing long tang (a homeopathic decongestant), X-ray 15cH, zinc gluconate glycine (Cold-Eeze®).
  • Note: This list is neither exhaustive nor complete, given the large number of homeopathic remedies. This list serves as a representation of some of the synonyms and related therapies.

Background
  • Homeopathy is a system of medicine developed in the early 1800s. The system is based on the law of similars. It is sometimes described as "like cures like." For example, substances that cause vomiting may be thought to also prevent vomiting if the substance is diluted.
  • Homeopathy uses extremely diluted doses of potential toxins. This is believed to promote the defense and self-regulatory responses of the body.
  • Homeopathic products may be made from plants. These plants include aconite, arnica, dandelion, and plantain. Homeopathic preparations may also contain minerals. These minerals include iron phosphate, arsenic oxide, and sodium chloride. The venom of poisonous snakes, the ink of cuttlefish, or even prescription drugs may also be used.
  • Homeopathic preparations are often customized for patients. Products are chosen so that if the person were to take extremely high doses of the preparation, it would cause symptoms similar to the condition to be treated.
  • Most homeopathic remedies are available without prescriptions. However, many states regulate the practice of homeopathy. Usually, homeopathy may be practiced legally by anyone with a medical degree. This includes doctors of medicine (MDs), doctors of osteopathy (DOs), naturopathic doctors (NDs), and dentists. State laws permit some chiropractors to use homeopathic remedies.
  • There is some evidence that homeopathic treatments may be effective for certain conditions. However, more studies are needed to confirm these results.

Evidence Table

These uses have been tested in humans or animals. Safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider. GRADE *


Several studies have shown that homeopathic treatments may decrease the duration of acute diarrhea in children. These results need to be confirmed in more studies.

B


Limited data indicate that homeopathic treatments may have a positive effect on swelling in the middle ear. These results need to be confirmed in more studies.

B


Homeopathy may reduce pain, swelling, bruising, or internal bleeding after surgery. Homeopathic treatments may also improve intestinal motility (stomach upset) after surgery. These results must be confirmed in higher-quality studies.

B


Early studies show that homeopathy may help reduce symptoms of sinus conditions. These results must be confirmed in more studies.

B


Strong evidence supporting the use of homeopathy as a treatment for vertigo is lacking. More studies are needed.

B


Many studies have used homeopathy to treat allergies. The results have been positive but must be confirmed in more studies.

C


Ankylosing spondylitis is a condition that causes long-lasting pain and swelling of the back. Evidence supporting the use of homeopathy to treat ankylosing spondylitis is lacking. Mores studies are needed.

C


Early studies have found mixed results for using homeopathy to treat anxiety. More studies are needed before a conclusion can be made.

C


Some studies have shown that homeopathy may reduce pain and ulcer size in patients with canker sores. More studies are needed before a conclusion can be made.

C


The use of homeopathy to treat asthma has been reviewed. According to one review, including homeopathy with standard asthma treatments may not improve the treatment outcomes. More research is needed.

C


The use of homeopathy the treat eczema has been reviewed. According to limited research, evidence supporting the use of homeopathy for the treatment of atopic eczema is lacking. More studies are needed.

C


Trials examining the effect of homeopathy on ADHD show conflicting results. The use of homeopathy to treat ADHD has been reviewed. The results must be studied more before conclusions can be made.

C


Evidence to support the use of homeopathy in the treatment of burns is lacking. More studies are needed.

C


Evidence to support the use of homeopathy in the treatment of cancer is lacking. More studies are needed.

C


Some studies show that homeopathy may help treat vaginal infections called recurrent vulvovaginal candidiasis (RVVC). These results must be confirmed in more studies.

C


Evidence to support the use of homeopathy as a treatment for cerebral palsy is lacking. More studies are needed.

C


Limited research shows that gargling with a homeopathic remedy may reduce the swelling of the mouth that is caused by chemotherapy in children. More studies are needed.

C


Early research suggests that a homeopathic approach may help treat long-term tiredness. More research is needed before a conclusion can be made.

C


The use of homeopathy to treat long-term illness lacks evidence. More studies are needed.

C


The use of homeopathy to treat long-term low back pain lacks evidence. More studies are needed.

C


Limited evidence shows that homeopathy may speed up the removal of respirator tubes in some patients with COPD. More research is needed before a conclusion is made.

C


The use of homeopathy as a treatment for the common cold lacks evidence. More studies are needed.

C


The use of homeopathy to treat this eye infection lacks evidence. More studies are needed.

C


The use of homeopathy to treat this type of reduced brain function lacks evidence. More studies are needed.

C


Evidence supporting the use of homeopathy to treat depression is lacking. More studies are needed.

C


Early research shows that homeopathy may help treat fertility disorders. These disorders include irregular or no menstrual periods. More research is needed.

C


Early studies show that homeopathy may help manage pain caused by fibromyalgia. More studies are needed before a conclusion can be made.

C


Early studies show that homeopathy lacks an effect on stomach disorders such as indigestion. More studies are needed before a conclusion can be made.

C


Early research shows that homeopathy may help prevent genital herpes outbreaks. More studies are needed before a conclusion can be made.

C


Many studies have examined the effect of homeopathy on migraines and other headaches. Results from these studies conflict. More studies are needed before a conclusion can be made.

C


Early studies show that homeopathic remedies may help treat mild heart failure and heart disease. More studies are needed before a conclusion can be made.

C


The use of homeopathy by patients with sexually transmitted diseases and AIDS has been reviewed. Homeopathy may benefit HIV patients when used with standard treatments. However, these treatments have been updated. The effect of homeopathy with newer HIV treatments is unclear. More studies are needed before a conclusion can be made.

C


A certain homeopathy treatment may reduce the duration of flu symptoms. More studies are needed before a conclusion can be made.

C


Early studies have produced mixed results on the effect of homeopathy in treating mosquito bites. More studies are needed before a conclusion can be made.

C


The use of homeopathy to induce labor lacks evidence. More studies are needed.

C


Early research shows that homeopathy may help reduce pain and spontaneous milk flow associated with breastfeeding. More studies are needed before a conclusion can be made.

C


The use of homeopathy to treat learning disabilities lacks evidence. More studies are needed.

C


The use of homeopathy to treat menopausal symptoms has been reviewed. Homeopathy benefited some women experiencing menopause. The benefit of using of homeopathy to treat hot flashes is unclear. More studies are needed before a conclusion is made.

C


Evidence supporting the use of homeopathy to treat mental disorders is lacking. More studies are needed.

C


Some evidence shows that Arnica may help reduce muscle soreness after physical effort. More studies are needed before a conclusion is made.

C


Evidence that supports the use of homeopathy to treat nasal airway blockage and reduce the need for surgery is lacking. More studies are needed.

C


Neuropathy is a nerve disorder that may affect nerves outside of the brain and spinal cord. These nerves can include optic nerves, which send messages from the eyes to the brain. Evidence supporting the use of homeopathy to treat this condition is lacking.

C


Evidence supporting the use of homeopathy to treat nighttime bedwetting in children is lacking. More studies are needed.

C


The use of homeopathy to treat osteoarthritis has been studied. Treatments have been applied to the skin or injected into the veins. Evidence supporting the use of homeopathy to treat this condition is lacking.

C


Some research shows that homeopathy may decrease blood loss after giving birth. More studies are needed before a conclusion can be made.

C


The effects of homeopathy in women with premenstrual syndrome (PMS) and premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) have been reviewed. More studies are needed before a conclusion can be made.

C


Limited research shows that homeopathy may reduce itching caused by hemodialysis (blood filtration). More studies are needed.

C


Early research suggests that homeopathy may help treat sudden skin irritation caused by radiation. More studies are needed to confirm these results.

C


Early studies show that the use of homeopathy may reduce the symptoms and duration of breathing problems. These conditions include runny nose, sinus swelling, or infections such as the flu. Homeopathy may help treat symptoms of upper respiratory tract infections in children. More studies are needed.

C


Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a disorder that causes tissue to become swollen, especially in the joints. Homeopathy may improve symptoms associated with RA. More studies are needed before a conclusion can be made.

C


Sepsis is condition in which an infection causes swelling to occur throughout the body. Evidence supporting the use of homeopathy to treat sepsis is lacking. More studies are needed.

C


Evidence supporting the use of homeopathy to improve sexual function is lacking. More studies are needed.

C


Homeopathy has been studied for treating skin conditions. These conditions include skin irritation caused by allergens or irritants, eczema (swelling of the skin), seborrheic dermatitis (scaling and flaking of the skin), and psoriasis (an autoimmune disorder that affects the skin). More studies are needed before a conclusion can be made.

C


Some evidence shows that homeopathy may help treat sleep disorders. These disorders include a long-term inability to sleep. More research is needed.

C


Tendinopathy is a skin condition that causes tendons to swell or tear. Early evidence suggests that homeopathy may help treat this condition. More studies are needed.

C


Evidence supporting the use of homeopathy to treat ringing in the ears is lacking. More studies are needed.

C


Limited research shows that homeopathy may decrease tonsil swelling. Also, the need for surgery due to tonsil swelling may be reduced. More studies are needed.

C


Tourette's syndrome is a mental disorder caused by a nerve system disease. Evidence supporting the use of homeopathy to treat this condition is lacking. More studies are needed.

C


Limited research suggests homeopathy may benefit mild traumatic brain injuries. More studies are needed.

C


Limited research shows that homeopathy may reduce symptoms of varicose veins. More research is needed.

C


Evidence supporting the use of homeopathy as a treatment for viral infections is lacking. More studies are needed.

C


Some evidence supports the use of homeopathy in the treatment of warts. More research is needed before a conclusion can be made.

C


Limited evidence supports of the use of homeopathy to promote weight loss in some people. More studies are needed before a conclusion can be made.

C


Early studies suggest homeopathy may improve symptoms of dry mouth that are caused by diseases or drugs. More studies are needed before a conclusion can be made.

C
* Key to grades

A: Strong scientific evidence for this use
B: Good scientific evidence for this use
C: Unclear scientific evidence for this use
D: Fair scientific evidence for this use (it may not work)
F: Strong scientific evidence against this use (it likley does not work)


Tradition / Theory

The below uses are based on tradition, scientific theories, or limited research. They often have not been thoroughly tested in humans, and safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider. There may be other proposed uses that are not listed below.

  • Abscesses (pus collections), acne, angina (chest pain from clogged heart arteries), antibiotic (resistance), bladder infections, brain damage (vegetative state), breast cancer, breast inflammation, breast pain (mastalgia), bruises, bursitis (inflamed bursa), cognitive function (memory), communication disorder (neurogenic in adults), constipation, cough, craniofacial pain (long-term pain in head and face), dengue (viral infection), diabetes, dysmenorrhea (menstrual pain), dystonia (movement disorder), dysuria (painful urination), endometriosis (tissue from womb grows elsewhere), energy, epilepsy (seizure), food poisoning, fractures, functional bowel disorders, gangrene, hay fever, heartburn, high blood pressure, immune enhancement, inflammatory bowel disease (stomach disorder), irritable bowel syndrome (stomach disorder), jellyfish stings, labor pain, liver disorders, Lyme disease, mastitis (breast inflammation), menopause (caused by cancer treatment), migraine (headache), multiple sclerosis (brain and spinal cord disease), musculoskeletal pain (bone and muscle pain), nausea and vomiting during pregnancy, pain, parasites and worms, poison ivy, postpartum depression (depression after giving birth), pregnancy, premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD), psychiatric illness (mental illness), rehabilitation, sciatica (back and leg pain), sexual abuse (childhood), sexually transmitted diseases, sore throat, sprains, stroke, swelling, teething, thyroid conditions, trauma, trigeminal neuralgia (nerve disorder), voice disturbances, wound care, yeast infections.

Safety

Many complementary techniques are practiced by healthcare professionals with formal training, in accordance with the standards of national organizations. However, this is not universally the case, and adverse effects are possible. Due to limited research, in some cases only limited safety information is available.

Allergies

  • Avoid using in people who are allergic or sensitive to ingredients contained in the homeopathic preparation.

Side Effects and Warnings

  • Most homeopathic practitioners regard homeopathy as safe. In some cases, homeopathic practitioners describe side effects as a "healing crisis." This involves the reduction of serious symptoms, but the increase of minor symptoms. Because homeopathic remedies are often specific to the person and condition being treated, it is difficult to make general statements about safety. Reports of serious adverse effects are lacking.
  • Homeopathic preparations may cause side effects such as asthma, breast pain, dizziness, drowsiness, dry mouth, eczema, feeling "throbby" in the head and neck, hand tremors, headache, indigestion, nausea, reaction at the treatment site, sore tongue, stomach discomfort, tiredness, unhappiness, and unspecific illnesses. The frequency and severity of side effects may be different for various homeopathic preparations.
  • Drowsiness or sedation may occur. Use cautiously if driving or operating heavy machinery.
  • Use all homeopathic medicines cautiously, as theoretically they may interact with any drug.
  • Use homeopathic medicines cautiously, as some treatments may contain arsenic due to poor manufacturing.
  • Avoid using homeopathy to treat severe or life-threatening conditions.
  • Avoid using homeopathic preparations for which appropriate homeopathic dilution processes are lacking.

Pregnancy and Breastfeeding

  • There is currently a lack of scientific evidence on the use of homeopathy during pregnancy or breastfeeding.

Attribution
  • This information is based on a systematic review of scientific literature edited and peer-reviewed by contributors to the Natural Standard Research Collaboration (www.naturalstandard.com).

Bibliography
  1. Bharatan V. Homeopathy and systematics: a systematic analysis of the therapeutic effects of the plant species used in homeopathy. Homeopathy 2008;97(3):122-128.
  2. Castro M. Homeopathy. A theoretical framework and clinical application. J Nurse Midwifery 1999;44(3):280-290.
  3. Chapman EH, Wilson JJ. Homeopathy in rehabilitation medicine. Phys Med Rehabil Clin N Am 1999;10(3):705-727.
  4. Eskinazi D. Homeopathy re-revisited: is homeopathy compatible with biomedical observations? Arch Intern Med 1999;159(17):1981-1987.
  5. Guajardo G, Wilson J. Models for explaining the homeopathic healing process: a historical and critical account of principles central to homeopathy. Homeopathy 2005;94(1):44-48.
  6. Jonas WB, Kaptchuk TJ, Linde K. A critical overview of homeopathy. Ann Intern Med 2003;138(5):393-399.
  7. Kleijnen J, Knipschild P, ter Riet G. Trials of homeopathy. BMJ 4-20-1991;302(6782):960.
  8. Laures J, Shisler R. Complementary and alternative medical approaches to treating adult neurogenic communication disorders: a review. Disabil Rehabil 2004;26(6):315-325.
  9. Mathie RT. The research evidence base for homeopathy: a fresh assessment of the literature. Homeopathy 2003;92(2):84-91.
  10. Milgrom LR. Toward a unified theory of homeopathy and conventional medicine. J Altern Complement Med 2007;13(7):759-769.
  11. Novella S, Roy R, Marcus D, et al. A debate: homeopathy--quackery or a key to the future of medicine? J Altern Complement Med 2008;14(1):9-15.
  12. Reilly D. The puzzle of homeopathy. J Altern Complement Med 2001;7 Suppl 1:S103-S109.
  13. Tedesco P, Cicchetti J. Like cures like: homeopathy. Am J Nurs 2001;101(9):43-49.
  14. Tiran D. Homeopathy in pregnancy: issues for midwives. Pract Midwife 2008;11(5):14-20.
  15. Walach H, Jonas WB, Ives J, et al. Research on homeopathy: state of the art. J Altern Complement Med 2005;11(5):813-829.

Interactions

Interactions with Drugs

  • Homeopathic preparations may increase the amount of drowsiness caused by some drugs. Examples include benzodiazepines such as lorazepam (Ativan®) or diazepam (Valium®), barbiturates such as phenobarbital, narcotics such as codeine, some antidepressants, and alcohol. Caution is advised while driving or operating machinery.
  • Many tinctures contain high levels of alcohol and may cause nausea or vomiting when taken with metronidazole (Flagyl®) or disulfiram (Antabuse®).
  • Homeopathic preparations may interact with antiallergy drugs, antianxiety agents, antiasthmatics, antidiarrheals, antiulcer and stomach acid-reducing agents, fertility agents, nervous system stimulants, and skin agents.
  • Theoretically, homeopathic preparations may interact with any other drug.

Interactions with Herbs and Dietary Supplements

  • Homeopathic preparations may increase the amount of drowsiness caused by some herbs or supplements.
  • Homeopathic preparations may interact with antiallergy herbs and supplements, antianxiety herbs and supplements, antiasthmatics, antidiarrheals, antiulcer and stomach acid-reducing agents, fertility agents, herbs and supplements that affect the skin, and herbs and supplements that stimulate the nervous system.

Dosing

Adults (18 years and older)

  • For allergic disorders, homeopathic preparations have been used for 3-4 weeks. Betula 30C has been used once weekly for four weeks before the pollen season. A 30C homeopathic preparation containing an inhalant allergen has been taken by mouth. A dose of 0.14 milliliters of Luffa comp.-HeelT Nasal Spray has been inhaled four times daily for 42 days.
  • For ankylosing spondylitis (back pain and swelling), one milliliter of Formica rufa D6 has been injected into the muscles twice weekly in combination with 0.5 milliliters of blood for four weeks.
  • For anxiety, homeopathic A. nitricum 12X has been used twice daily for four days. A tailored homeopathic medicine has been used for 10 weeks.
  • For aphthous ulcers (canker sores), Borax, Mercurius solubilis, Natrium muriaticum, Phosphor, Acidum sulphuricum, Acidum nitricum, Arsenicum album, Nux vomica, and Lycopodium have been used. Two doses of the 6C potency have been taken by mouth, followed by two more doses 12 hours later.
  • For asthma, homeopathic immunotherapy has been taken by mouth for 16 weeks.
  • For atopic eczema (skin irritation), individualized homeopathic medicines have been used for 32 weeks.
  • For candidiasis (vaginal infection), classic homeopathy treatment (a high doses of a single homeopathic remedy based on each person's condition using the simile rule) has been used for 12 months.
  • For chronic (long-term) low back pain, homeopathy has been used for two months. Spiroflor SRL gel has been used.
  • For chronic obstructive lung disease (COPD), five globules of potassium dichromate C30 have been used twice daily.
  • For fertility, 50 drops of Phyto Hypophyson L have been used three times daily for three months. Also, three cycles have been used.
  • For gastrointestinal disorders, Spascupreel tablets have been taken by mouth for one week.
  • For headaches, individualized homeopathic medicines have been used for four months.
  • For insect bites from mosquitoes, homeopathic after-bite gel has been applied to the skin immediately and one, three, six, 26, and 31 hours after the bite.
  • For menopausal symptoms, homeopathic medicine has been taken by mouth for 16 weeks.
  • For muscle soreness from marathon running, five pills of Arnica D30 (root of Arnica montana at the D30 potency) have been taken the evening before the marathon and twice daily (in the morning and evening) for the next four days.
  • For neuropathy (nerve disorder), homeopathic dilutions of Carboneum sulphuratum and Tabacum have been used for 30 days.
  • For osteoarthritis, one gram of homeopathic gel has been used three times daily for four weeks.
  • For postoperative recovery, Arnica montana 5 CH, Bryonia alba 5 CH, Hypericum perforatum 5 CH, and Ruta graveolens 3 DH have been taken once in the evening before surgery and for three days after surgery. Homeopathic Arnica (30C or 6C) has been used for seven days before surgery and 14 days after surgery. Arnica CH5 has been used under the tongue the night before and immediately after surgery.
  • For rheumatoid arthritis (RA), 42 homeopathic medicines have been used in 6cH (10-12) and/or 30cH (10-30) dilutions for six months.
  • For sepsis (blood poisoning), five globules at a potency of 200C were taken every 12 hours.
  • For sinusitis, Sinusitis PMD, which contains Lobaria pulmonaria, Luffa operculata, and potassium dichromate, has been used for approximately two weeks.
  • For skin conditions, low-dose homeopathic mineral therapy (Potassium bromide 1X, Sodium bromide 2X, Nickel sulfate 3X, Sodium chloride 6X) has been taken by mouth for 10 weeks.
  • For sleep disorders, homeopathic simillimum has been used for four weeks. Homeogene 46 and Sedatif PC have been used for one month.
  • For soft-tissue injury (tendinopathy), Traumeel S® ointment has been used for up to 28 days.
  • For tinnitus (ringing in the ear), a homeopathic treatment with D60 potency has been used.
  • For tonsillitis, a homeopathic treatment containing three plant substances (Phytolacca americana, Guajacum officinale, and Capsicum annuum) has been used in tablet or liquid drop form.
  • For traumatic brain injury, homeopathic medicine has been used for four months.
  • For varicose veins, five globules of Arnica D12 have been used three times daily for 13 days.
  • For vertigo, Vertigoheel has been used for 12 weeks.
  • For warts, a homeopathic treatment consisting of Thuya 30 "centesimal hahnemannian" (CH) (one tube containing 200 pellets weekly), Antimonium crudum 7 CH (five pellets daily), and Nitricum acidum 7 CH (one tube containing 200 pellets daily) has been used for six weeks.
  • For viral infections, Gripp-Heel® has been used.
  • For weight loss, one dose of an ultramolecular dilution of homeopathic Thyroidinum 30cH has been taken by mouth.
  • For xerostomia (dry mouth), a homeopathic preparation has been used for six weeks.

Children (under 18 years old)

  • For acute diarrhea in children, individualized homeopathic medicine has been given daily for five days.
  • For reducing the effects of stomatitis from chemotherapy in children, Traumeel S® has been used as a mouth rinse five times daily from two days after transplantation for more than 14 days.
  • For adenoid vegetation (nasal problems), Nux vomica D200, Okoubaka D3, Tuberculinum D200, Barium jodatum D4, and Barium jodatum D6 have been used for three months.
  • For otitis media (ear infection), individualized homeopathic medicine has been taken by mouth three times daily for five days or until symptoms subsided.

Copyright © 2011 Natural Standard (www.naturalstandard.com)


The information in this monograph is intended for informational purposes only, and is meant to help users better understand health concerns. Information is based on review of scientific research data, historical practice patterns, and clinical experience. This information should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. Users should consult with a qualified healthcare provider for specific questions regarding therapies, diagnosis and/or health conditions, prior to making therapeutic decisions.

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