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Patient Testimonials

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My vision sharpens and my energy lifts.

Dr. Lawrence Taw and Dr. Shubov, thank you so much for helping me see that I do not have to live with post-treatment pain after all. I am so happy to discover that the recurring chronic rib and nerve pain I have experienced since having breast surgery and radiation more than four years ago isn't necessarily something that will follow me around forever. During my first appointment, Dr. Shubov treated me with three trigger point injections in the right rib cage area where I have had pain since completing radiation in March 2010. It might sound a bit strange, but what I felt immediately was my vision sharpens and my energy lifts. Having the rib pain disappear was amazing. It was lovely to discover that I didn't feel tired by late afternoon. Pain is exhausting. Although the discomfort began to return after eight days, I know now that it can be treated effectively and safely, and that is so encouraging.

-- P.B.

The Center for East-West Medicine is an exceptional blend of medical modalities.

The Center for East-West Medicine is an exceptional blend of medical modalities. The caring staff and talented doctors work seamlessly to improve my quality of life.

As an older patient with inflammatory issues and a record of more than 25 orthopedic surgeries/joint replacements, I look to CEWM for management of chronic pain and help with mobility issues. The combination of acupuncture and trigger point injections keeps me going and allows me to lead a more active life.

Sandi Chiu is a breath of fresh air and a skilled and caring acupuncturist. Doctors Hui and Taw are at the top of the field and always working to help me improve.

The front desk and nursing staff are welcoming and efficient. Do not be put off by the long wait for an initial appointment or for the vagaries of UCLA billing.

The Center for East-West Medicine is a powerful positive factor in my life. Without the Center care and caring, I would just be getting older……with their help I am getting stronger and better. I am forever grateful.

-- BP

How Dr. Irene Kim and the team at Center for East West Medicine have helped me.

I was diagnosed with stage IV triple negative breast cancer at the age of 37, three months after having my first child. By the time it was caught the cancer had spread to my brain, liver, spine and lungs. I underwent 15 rounds of radiation to my brain and my oncologist put me on a chemotherapy regimen of taxotere and carboplatin. At first the side effects were unbearable. I was so tired that some days I could not even get out of bed. Yet somehow I also had trouble sleeping at night. I was extremely nauseous, would vomit often and had trouble eating. My oncological team was quite diligent and successful at controlling my cancer but my side effects were not their primary concern.

Shortly after being diagnosed I began seeing Dr. Irene Kim and Dr. Lawrence Taw at the UCLA Center for East West Medicine.  I have now been to the Center countless times and continue to see the doctors because they have helped me not only with my chemotherapy side effects, but also with my mental strength. During each visit we first discuss what is happening with my treatment and side effects. Then, I get acupuncture treatment from Dr. Kim followed by a visit with Dr. Taw  which usually includes trigger point injections.

Since the very beginning, I found these visits, the treatments, and the advice extremely helpful. Sometimes doctors who have a herculean task like curing cancer can gloss over certain issues because they are not as significant to them as the bigger problem at hand. Or they will make a passing comment like "you need to eat more" and move on to the next issue.  The doctors at the Center have the time to get into these issues in greater detail. Dr. Kim is also an extremely effective communicator. During one of my first visits we were talking about my appetite and she told me "food is medicine." It's a simple phrase and message but I've always remembered it and it helped me eat, even when I've had to force my food down, and I keep eating because "food is medicine."

After seven rounds of taxotere/carboplatin I began to develop neuropathy in my hands and feet. It was extremely painful at first to the point where it was difficult to wear shoes. I discussed my symptoms with Dr. Kim and one of the Drs. Taw. I got some recommendations from Dr. Taw about what I could be doing at home, including taking magnesium. I followed most of Dr. Taw's advice and now my neuropathy is about 80% better.

I, and many others, believe that cancer or anything like it is partially, or maybe mostly, a mental game.  If you give up you send a message to your body to give up. Another tremendous benefit of the Center is the assistance with this mental game. Dr. Kim has steadfastly told me that she likes my fighting spirit and believes that I can beat this disease. She has given me helpful advice about breathing techniques and visualization that I use not only at the Center but also in my daily life. I think about my fighting spirit often and will it to not give up and continue to fight. I truly believe that all of this has helped slowly beat down my cancer and keep me moving towards solutions even when difficult issues come up.

Today I still have cancer but I also have a full and rewarding life. I eat and sleep regularly, rarely get nauseous, exercise often and have seen a significant improvement in my neuropathy. It's impossible to tell how much of a part Dr. Kim and the team played in all of this but I do know that I wouldn't be here without them.  My oncological team has kept me alive but Dr. Kim and others at the Center have kept me living.

--Liz T.

Dr. Irene Kim and Dr. Lawrence Taw led me to a New Life-Style.

With this short note, I’d like to express my great appreciation to you both and your colleagues at UCLA Center for East-West Medicine.

The Acupuncture that you offer was a “Healing Service” for the whole body: it awakened my nerves since they had become numb (mostly paralyzed) during six months of chemotherapy.

You have also given other services that have been VERY HEALING: the injections on certain muscle areas have relaxed, activated and given power to those muscles.

You and your colleagues have, by now, convinced me that you treat and heal the whole person-body, mind and spirit-through your services. Your conversations, instructions and directions add a new dimension to spiritual and physical healing. In my case, you have led me to a New Life-Style.

May all cancer patients and others, who learn about you, have the privilege of getting your beneficial Healing Services.

Thank you, both, from the bottom of my heart!!

--Anonymous

My experience at this facility has been a positive one.

I have been burdened with urge urinary incontinence and urine retention and received various interventions, such as Physical Therapy, herbs and bladder surgery for over 10 years. All of the above were helpful for a period of time.

In 2009, under the professional care of Dr. Lawrence Taw at the UCLA Center for East-West Medicine, I had excellent results from acupuncture and trigger point injections for my urinary incontinence. I have returned periodically as needed since.

In April, 2012, I was diagnosed with Breast Cancer. During the duration of my chemotherapy and radiation treatments, my urinary incontinence was frequent and required the use of sanitary pads for heavy flow. After an episode of nausea and vomiting, I was hospitalized for one week and due to complications, I was in a debilitated condition for 5 months. I had pitting edema and neuropathy in my legs, anemia, requiring blood transfusions and most miserable from acute shoulder and neck lightness. By the time I saw the Physical Therapist, due to weakness in my neck, I could not lift my head to make eye contact. At the termination of P.T., I had improved but few days later, I had a relapse. In September, 2013, I returned to the UCLA East-West Center and I am grateful for the expertise and care I received from Dr. Lawrence Taw. My neck has been 100% well since. The edema in my legs finally started to subside and the maintenance treatment for my bladder was a boost. Currently, I am on hormone therapy for breast cancer and now being treated by Dr. L. Taw for my hot flushes and sudden recurrence of urinary incontinence.

As a patient, I have benefited greatly from acupuncture and my experience at this facility has been a positive one. Dr. Taw always allows time for feedback and instructs me on diet and how to help myself daily at home.

--AM

Center for East-West Medicine is an effective place to obtain treatment.

If you are willing to collaborate actively in your wellness, the Center for East-West Medicine is an effective place to obtain treatment. After GI cancer surgery, I had a very limited diet of foods I could tolerate, chronic gastric discomfort and fatigue, and was taking maximum doses of prescription stomach medicines. I had consulted with diet experts at my cancer center and with traditional physicians but saw only limited improvement. At the East-West Clinic I received coaching on my diet and eating behaviors, acupuncture and injections. Over the course of one summer I improved considerably, to the point that I no longer require prescription medications for gastric discomfort and typically take only herbal and vitamin supplements as recommended by Dr. [Lawrence] Taw. My diet broadened remarkably, and with improved nutrition came a return of my energy level. Functionally, I feel much like I did before my illness. It requires active participation and adherence on my part to maintain this improvement, but I feel empowered by the knowledge that I have a good deal of control over my well-being.

- Anonymous

Nothing seemed to solve the problem... Dr. Lawrence Taw helped me tremendously.

I’m writing this statement in appreciation to Dr. Lawrence Taw. About a year ago, I was attending doctors to help me with a chronic pain I have had for the longest [time] in my upper stomach. I was losing weight, and every time I would eat my stomach would hurt. I was afraid to eat; it was painful.  After visiting  a couple of gastroenterology doctors,  nothing seemed to solve the problem. My primary doctor even told me at some point to feel free to consult others doctors. I consulted another specialist and he referred me to Dr. Lawrence Taw. First of all, he suggested that I change my diet completely. He also recommended drinking hot teas like mint and ginger tea. They have helped me tremendously. Besides, he started me with two visits per month where he would do first acupuncture and  after that treatment he would do trigger point injections  in the muscle area to get those knots of tension out. I can say this treatment slowly but surely has eased the pain. I’m still visiting Dr. Taw due [to] the results that I am getting.

-- JC

It is such freedom to no longer have terrible attacks of vertigo.

I have suffered from frequent Meniere's attacks for over 40 years. Mine has been a complicated history of vertigo attacks that could last months and were exacerbated by allergic reactions.

I did have excellent medical care for my Meniere's, allergies and TMJ over the years, but in spite of treatment and medications (allergy immunization, antihistamines, steroids), the Meniere's continued to worsen. I was having debilitating drop attacks of vertigo and nausea. I lost my hearing on one side. My otolaryngologist/allergist administered steroid injections into the inner ear, but the attacks continued. The next step I was facing was a procedure to destroy the balance center of my inner ear.

My internist referred me to UCLA's Center for East-West Medicine. Dr. Malcolm Taw, MD treated me with acupuncture, trigger point injections and showed me how to do self-acupressure. My vertigo attacks ceased, my allergies disappeared as did the TMJ I had suffered for years. I have been vertigo free for 1 1/2 years. My gait is normal now when I am walking or in exercise class. I am not afraid to be out walking by myself and am enjoying riding my bicycle again. I no longer take several medications a day for my allergies and vertigo. It is such freedom to no longer have terrible attacks of vertigo that knock me to the ground and to not fear and stress over a potential forthcoming attack. I only wish I had gone to UCLA Center for East-West Medicine when my internist first referred me several years ago!

-- Deborah

Dr. Malcolm Taw and Dr. Li from East West Medicine have changed my life.

I have had dizzy problems, in different forms, for 25 years. I have seen two neurologists, three ENT's, and two internists. I have been to a chiropractor and an acupuncturist, without any improvement with my symptoms.

I have been diagnosed with benign positional vertigo, labyrinthitis and vestibular neuritis. Sometimes if I got a massage, my symptoms would go away, but only for a day and return the next day.

Prior to coming to the UCLA Center for East-West Medicine, I had experienced intermittent spinning sensations, during which I was nauseous for a day and then the next few days it felt as if a truck was sitting on my head, or like a river was swimming in my head. I wasn't able to process properly or multi-task, which was part of my job. I had to hold on to the walls as I walked around at work. This feeling continued from 5 days to 6 weeks. It usually would come every two months and I was not able to continue with my yoga practice or go about my daily life. It was frustrating and I became depressed.

When I saw Dr. Malcolm Taw, he didn't give my condition a name, because he wanted to solve the problem and relieve my symptoms not diagnose it. He was gentle and listened to me and took time. I felt relaxed right away and not judged and I didn't feel like I was a specimen.

I have come in for treatments, acupuncture, massage of the neck area, and lidocaine trigger point injections every month for the last 6 months with no recurring dizzy symptoms since I began my treatment. I no longer have to fear a dizzy episode before a trip. I've had to cancel numerous trips because of my dizziness and it was so discouraging. I can now continue with the activities I love; yoga, skiing, walking and reading, music concerts and seeing friends. It has made a real difference in my life.

l am so grateful to Dr. Taw and his team and the East-West Medicine Group. It has changed my life.

--Rita

I'm Happy to Avoid Surgery.

One year ago, in 2009, I consulted with Dr. Malcolm Taw about my back pain. I had been experiencing severe pain (7-8 on 10 point scale) for five months. I had been diagnosed by three orthopedic physicians along with several MRI's and X-Rays as having two to three herniated discs as well as a 1-grade spondylolesthesis of the L-5 vertebrae on top of a 2-grade spondylolesthesis of the S-1 vertebrae. I had been taking 750 mg of Vicodin 4 to 6 times a day. All consulting physicians recommended surgery with instrumentation to relieve compression and create stabilization.

Having done extensive research on my own, I learned that such surgeries have a poor success rate for improving mobility and reducing pain. I started looking for alternative therapies and after encountering some fraudulent "natural cures and healers", I came to Dr. Taw for acupuncture. I felt relief after just two treatments (1 week apart) and I continued to experience less pain and greater mobility until, after about 2 months, I was able to discontinue my use of Vicodin completely. I continue to come for treatments about once a month and I have remained relatively pain-free. Of course, the physiological condition of my back remains the same, but if I can function normally (I teach art to elementary students) and without debilitating pain, then I'm happy to avoid surgery and continue my treatments for the foreseeable future.

--Diane

UCLA Center for East-West Medicine Saved My Life. Seriously.

Several years ago my body began to betray me. Bizarre irregularities appeared one by one over the course of a year: constant heart palpitations; lightheadedness; burning and irritated lips/palate/gums/tongue; shiny patches on my tongue; worsening of my hypoglycemia; constant, severe gastrointestinal pain; a feeling of extreme fullness; abdominal bloating; a sensation of coldness in my abdomen; sinus problems; pain in my salivary glands; severe pain in hands and feet; constant neck pain; nausea; flashes of anxiety; reappearance of menopausal hot flashes; fuzzy thinking; and sensitivities to chemicals and drugs I previously tolerated.

Not surprisingly, I deteriorated mentally. What was once a reasonably happy, well adjusted individual became someone who started and ended her day crying and despairing what the future would hold, who scoured the internet for answers to assist her doctors and who obsessed over writing down every detail of the increasing onslaught of symptoms. An analyst by trade, I believed that, if I could organize the symptoms, surely one alert physician could diagnose me.

But that never happened. Over the course of more than a year I saw two dozen specialists, including eleven days of testing at The Mayo Clinic in Arizona. I was diagnosed with hyperparathyroidism and being over-medicated for my hypothyroidism. I underwent surgery to remove an enlarged parathyroid gland and a severely scarred thyroid lobe, then waited to become me again. Six months went by, but my symptoms failed to improve and new ones appeared.

Six months later I walked into the East-West Center. It wasn’t an easy decision. I was fed up with Western medicine and had decided to try Traditional Chinese Medicine. But the Center was affiliated with UCLA, a bastion of Western medicine, and used Western-trained internists in their practice. Ultimately, I chose the Center for those very reasons, viewing them as safety checks, as opposed to using an independent Traditional Chinese Medicine practitioner.

My “Western” doctor explained that, although I thought what I had was rare, they saw patients like me all the time and could help me. Improvements came quickly with weekly acupuncture and acupressure treatments by my “Eastern” doctor of Chinese Medicine and with moderate dietary adjustments. Occasionally, tiny lytocaine shots were used to train my screaming muscles to calm. Aside from that, I was given no drugs, not even any herbs. Soon my body was no longer my enemy. Even the non-recuperative sleep I suffered from my entire life disappeared. Three years later I’m on a maintenance schedule of one treatment every three weeks, my body has regained its equilibrium and I know how to keep it on track.

Looking back, my problems were likely caused by a combination of hyperthyroidism, hyperparathyroidism, mild fibromyalgia and a difficult menopause that had pushed my metabolism so far out of alignment that it couldn’t recover on its own.

Western medicine has some excellent methods of diagnostics and treatments. But it compartmentalizes the body into specialties and is incapable of treating it as a whole. Traditional Chinese Medicine can, however, do this. Modern Western medicine is in its infancy, having been around only a few hundred years, while Chinese medicine has endured for more than two thousand. Neither can do everything - each has areas where it shines. But much of what we consult Western medicine for can be accomplished far better by Chinese medicine, more gently, less invasively, less expensively, and it can even succeed where Western medicine fails.

I’ve entrusted my care to Drs. Malcolm Taw and Jie-Jia Li the entire three years. The overriding impression I’ve had from my very first visit was the level of patience they both display and the degree to which they focus on me during every visit. If I tell them the same thing ten times, because I assume they don’t remember every patient’s background information, they listen with the same attentiveness they did on day 1.

And there has never - never - been any distraction that pulled them away from my visit before they’d fully listened to my concerns and responded in full. No interrupting phone calls from other patients or doctors that cut my time short and no feeling that they’re on a timer from the moment they walk into the treatment room. In today’s climate of meager payouts from insurance companies, that’s a rarity. There’s a sense of unhurriedness, a feeling of calm and a total focus on the patient that is nurturing and, yes, even healing. This is vital to any patient, but particularly so for those who seek out the Center because traditional Western medicine has not helped them.

Some years ago, before I was treated at the Center, I had a good physician who was training a resident during one of my office visits. He told the resident “It’s very important to listen to the patient.” I turned to the resident, firmly grabbed the lapels of his white coat and shook him back and forth and said “Listen to the patient! Listen to the patient!” After I released him and his eyes popped back into their sockets, I calmly told him “Now you’ll remember that.”

I’ve never had to grab Dr. Taw’s or Dr. Li’s lapels.

So, yes, the Center for East-West Medicine saved my life!

-- Karen

I'm Looking Forward to Having a Life Again.

I came to the UCLA Center for East-West Medicine with multiple diagoses of irritable bowel disease, chronic fatigue, chronic abdominal pain, endometriosis, migraines, gastroesophageal reflux, and insomnia. Prior evaluations and treatments included a laparoscopy with cautherization of endometriosis, a second laparoscopy to lyse resulting adhesions, endoscopies for gastrointestinal symptoms, and several MRIs. These interventions were unsuccessful and my out-of-pocket medical bilss reached close to $20,000. It left me financially bankrupt and homeless. My chronic fatigue and pain intensified to the point that I was unable to keep my job as a computer graphic designer. As my abdominal pain continued, surgical hysterectomy was recommended. Discouraged by this drastic recommendation, I came to the Center.

For the first few months, the most I could do was make my appointments at the Center but, over time, I became stronger and experienced less and less pain. At home, I continued applying pressure to the trigger oints and doing the deep breathing exercises and the abdominal massages Dr. Hui showed me. And it has worked! Gradually, I was able to work part-time, and, a couple of months later, take part in a theatre production. Today I am a full-time student and still working part-time. I have had enough energy to do what I need AND WANT to do! I'm looking forward to having a life again. Thanks to everyone at the Center for East-West Medicine!

-- Leila

Life is So Much Better.

I came to the Center suffering from headaches, neck and shoulder tension, and pain. After being treated by my internist for several months with conventional medicine, I was asked if I would be interested in seeing someone in an alternative medical field.

Since I was ready to cut off the left side of my body, I said, "sure"? The question mark comes from years of being ingrained in the Western medical model. My father, uncles, cousins, and now a newphew are all MDs. My internist tole me that Dr. Hui has been trained in both Eastern and Western methods of medicine and that he has had great success with patients where other medical practitioners have failed.

I figured it was safer than seeing an orthopedist, who would want to do surgery. Before Dr. Hui did his magic with acupuncture needles, Dr. Yu gave me a massage and I learned about his miracle fingers. As I left the office, I felt the tension, depression and lethargy leave my body. I actually found myself skipping down the street and singing. What a change in such a short time! Life is so much better. These are truly great doctors and nurturing place.

-- Linda

It's Like a Person Getting Out of Prison.

I was initially diagnosed with pneumonia as well as a urinary tract infection. I also complained of an extremely painful left shoulder and that my sleep was disturbed by the pain I experienced whenever I turned over. It was suggested that I see an orthopedist, who gave me an injection and instructed me to undergo three months of physical therapy. I was placed on antibiotics to treat upper respiratory infections; the infections would abate, only to return some weeks later. I was seen by a renowned ENT specialist at a major university hospital and was told I did not have sinusitis. I continued to be plagued by these infections and was taking large doses of antibiotics on a recurrent basis. I was examined by a second, highly-regarded ENT specialist who diagnosed Severe Pain Sinusitis and was told that surgery was required. However, I was also told there were no guarantees surgery would solve my problem. I declined.

I was examined by an allergist who advised to replace all the carpeting in my home, install a new HEPA filteration system in my house and place another portable unit in my bedroom, encase every piece of bedding with speical coverings, and avoid my dog. I followed this advice except as it applied to my dog. My allergist who suggested allergy shots over a four year period. The cost of my care, including the changes in my home, was $23,000. Finally, i came to the Center. Dr. Hui talked with me for quite a while about my life, my family and my work. Dr. Hui then examined my and, after considering my Type-A personality, combined with my professional work pressures and my home situation, he diagnosed me with "Tight Neck". My treatments included acupuncture, trigger point injections, and massage by Dr. Yu.

Since the day I started treatment in November 2002, I have not have a single sinus infection! The Center provides a beautiful balance of Western and Eastern medicine that gave me a miraculous return to health. It's like a person getting out of prison.

-- Marjorie

I've resumed all the activities I engaged in before my problems began!

I was referred by my neurosurgeon to the Center with disabling back pain diagnosed as degenerative arthritis with spinal stenosis, which I had suffered for 1½ years. Prior to my referral to the Center, my medical treatments included six epidural steroid injections, physical therapy, medication, lumbar laminectomy, spinal catheter implants for morphine infusion, and several neuroimaging studies, which cost approximately $34,000. All of these interventions were unsuccessful in alleviating my pain in the long-term and I continued to be disabled.

When I first began treatments at the Center, walking or standing for more than one or two minutes was often extremely painful, almost impossible. After seven treatments at the Center, which included trigger point injections, acupuncture and education in self-massage and exercise, I experienced complete relief. The cost of my care at the Center was $700.

My improvement has been remarkable indeed. I have improved to the point where I have days of pain-free activity and seldom experience more than mild discomfort. I've resumed all the activities I engaged in before my problems began!"

-- Lorraine

You Got Me Started Caring for Myself.

Dear Dr. Hui,

You may have heard that I received a kidney from a living unrelated donor (a friend who is also a nurse) on July 20th. I am doing quite well and feeling better than I have in years.

You were the first of the doctors at UCLA who helped me to maintain my delicate balance and my kidney function for such a long time. I first saw you in the spring of 1993. your treatment with herbs with Dr. Li's help and your recommendation to begin doing Taiji helped me to master the problems that I had been having. i have been practicing Taiji ever since and am looking forward to returning to it when the transplant doctors say that I may.

Please accept my grateful thanks for your expertise, concern and good care during my timea s your patient. you got me started caring for myself in a way that I have continued to this day and will continue as long as I live.

I wish you all the best in your much-needed work at the clinic and I wish you and Shirley good health.

Sincerely yours,

Barbara

Thank You from the Bottom of My Heart.

Dear Dr. Hui:

Per my orthopedic doctor's recommendation, I first came to the UCLA Center for East-West Medicine on July 30, 2009, for neck and ear injuries from a rear-end car accident that occurred seven months earlier. I underwent physical therapy during the first half of 2009. It helped to increase my range of motion in my neck but didn't seem to loosen my muscles for the long term, not did it improve hearing in my left ear.

My first visit at the Center was amazing. I entered that day with much hesitation -- fearing the unknown about eastern medicine practices; yet I left feeling more cared for than ever before. The staff greeted me while I waited in the lobby for my appointment. You and Dr. Grant Chu met me with great warmth and asked me several questions about my overall health -- not just relating to my neck and ear. You thoroughly explained how treatments as a complement to my physical therapy treatments. You emphasized the importance of finding balance in order to heal and live a long and healthy life.

Over the next several months you and Dr. Chu accomplished what no other western doctor or physical therapist could do. Dr. Chu worked diligently at each acupuncture treatment to decrease my stress level to allow my neck muscles to permanently heal. At each appointment I was given personalized attention and plenty of time to ask questions. Recent hearing tests indicated the hearing in my left ear has improved.

I am still undergoing treatment for my ear because the nerves in my neck and jaw take a long time to heal, but I remain hopeful of a full recovery. Dr. Chu continues to approach each appointment as if it is the most important task he has that day. Dr. Lawrence Taw also checks in with my regularly, and even though he's not my primary doctor, he clearly displays full knowledge of my circumstances and reiterates the next steps I need to take in order to continue healing. This unprecedented level of care makes me feel as if I receive the "red carpet " treatment each time I'm at the Center. It keeps my attitude positive which aids in the healing process.

With the Clinic's help, I have been able to manage my stress and continue healing during very stressful situations this past year, including my Dad's impending death due to cancer, and a major acquisition deal at my work last year. I want to thank you, Dr. Chu, Dr. Taw and the Clinic staff for helping me to heal when western doctors had no more answers. I look forward to continuing my treatment and help for further recovery. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for all you've done.

Sincerely,

Allison



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