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MS symptoms
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MS symptoms

I have recently been diagnosed with MS.  I am female, 44 years old.  The first symptoms began on Oct 7th, 1999 I had a pin pricking sensation in 2 small spots.  One in the area of the ribs, and the other about the waistline both on the left side.  It was uncomfortable for any clothing to touch these 2 areas.  Within 7 days I had a numb area all around the mid section, but only on the left side. This was originally diagnosed as shingles, but there were no skin eruptions.  Within 3 weeks the numbness was down to the left knee and I had  a  feeling of a very tight band around my waist, only the left side again.  I was referred to a neurologist who ordered a MRI of the back  and  head,  and he performed a lumbar puncture.  The back MRI came back showing an inflammation  which he said explained the numbness.  The head MRI did not show any abnormalities.  The lumbar puncture came back positive for MS also, negative for Lupus, Lyme etc.  The numbness continued to travel downward through the foot and seemed to peak out around mid December.  The neurologist has not put me on any medication except Alprazolam because there weren't  signs of MS in the head.  He said that until a second attack occurs that he will leave my records showing only an inflammation in the spinal column.  Around Dec. 23rd  I started noticing a very slight numbness in my right foot. It has since traveled up to the right knee, and a very slight numbness in both hands and arms. The numbness on the right side of the body has never been near as severe as it was on the left side.  The left side got so bad that I couldn't feel anything that was even touching around the waist area.

About 2 weeks ago I have noticed something similar to hot flashes or slight burning sensation in my right thigh.  They only last for a minute or 2 but have increased in frequency.  I also have a buzzing feeling down both legs and occasional tingling in my face. At least 90% of the numbness on the left side of my body has gone away. My eyes have never been affected.   I have a couple of questions.

1.  What exactly is the buzzing feeling, is it the nerves trying to find new paths, or is it MS attacking the coating on the nerves?

2.  Is this a rather long 1st attack, or since it moved to the other side of my body would it be considered a second attack?

3. What is the slight burning sensation that I am feeling.

4. Could any of this be do to aniexty.

I am not scheduled to see the neurologist for another month, would you want to know about any of these new symptoms?   Thank you for your time.


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Dear Sandy:

The type of MS you might have is not the most common but definitely is known and many people have spinal cord MS.  The feelings that your were having are due to areas of your spine that convey sensory information to your brain have been attacked by the MS (demyelination).  One must be careful because sometimes other diseases can mimiac MS when it is confined to the spine.  Some times a viral illnes might trigger demyelination of some segments of the spinal cord, called acute demyelinating neuropathy.  This would not reoccur.  But if this is MS, there should be reoccurrence.  Yes, the change in sides of the body could be another exacerbation of your MS.  I would tell your doctor about this.  Yes, extreme anxiety can give you neurological symptoms, but not demyelinating plaques in your spinal cord.

Let us know how things turn out.

Sincerely,

CCF Neuro MD
28 Comments
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Sandy there is also another web sight im sure you may really like too. It is other people with ms who post its Neurology Webforums Massachusetts General very informative to. This is a great place.
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Boy! Tha sounds like how mine started. Numbness started in bothe feet, worked it's way up to my waist band area, affecting some bodily function with kindneys and such. This lasted about 1 month  to 2 months. Then one day while just laying on the floor, I felt a warm sensation in my feet, then all those numbness/tingling went away. But duting this time it had spread to my hands and lower arms. That went away , except for  hands. I too had about 4 MRI's, xrays galore, PT etc... They did find a small syrnix in my spine, but later said that wasn't the problem. After the Head MRI, that indicated MS, that is what the DR's suspect now. So I understand that Waistband feeling! Best of luck to you!
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thanks for the comments.

CCF Neuro MD
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I need help.  I had the flu which caused a fever in December.  I recovered from the flu and a few days later had one day of vertigo with feeling off-balance for about 4-5 weeks to follow.  I also have had a lot of tingling, numbing and "pins and prickles".  It was very bad after the vertigo to the point it was over most of my body.  My right side has been mostly affected.  At one point along with my leg and and arm, my face and toungue became numb for about an hour.  I have had some bouts of extreme fatigue as well.  My tingling/numbing has gotten much better and seems to just be on my right side.  My fatigue has also gotten better.  I seem to be a little clumsy with my hands but not with my legs(unless I am numb).

I also have a little lump on the side of my face which I think may be a cyst.  It is directly in front of my ear.

I had an MRI of the head and they found a single signal abnormality.  Apparently, this white matter lesion is typical of MS but not in an atypical area.  I also have prominent amount of CSF over the ventricles which they say may be caused by involutional changes.  I am only 31 years old so that puzzles me.

I have an appointment with a neurologist at the end of February but don't know whether I should keep it.  I am feeling better so I didn't know if it was just a viral thing or not.  However, I do remember a few times earlier in the year I had some tingling and numbness on my right side that lasted a day or two.  Didn't pay much attention to any other symptoms.

Anyone have similar problems or have any comments?
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I need help.  I had the flu which caused a fever in December.  I recovered from the flu and a few days later had one day of vertigo with feeling off-balance for about 4-5 weeks to follow.  I also have had a lot of tingling, numbing and "pins and prickles".  It was very bad after the vertigo to the point it was over most of my body.  My right side has been mostly affected.  At one point along with my leg and and arm, my face and toungue became numb for about an hour.  I have had some bouts of extreme fatigue as well.  My tingling/numbing has gotten much better and seems to just be on my right side.  My fatigue has also gotten better.  I seem to be a little clumsy with my hands but not with my legs(unless I am numb).

I also have a little lump on the side of my face which I think may be a cyst.  It is directly in front of my ear.

I had an MRI of the head and they found a single signal abnormality.  Apparently, this white matter lesion is typical of MS but not in an atypical area.  I also have prominent amount of CSF over the ventricles which they say may be caused by involutional changes.  I am only 31 years old so that puzzles me.

I have an appointment with a neurologist at the end of February but don't know whether I should keep it.  I am feeling better so I didn't know if it was just a viral thing or not.  However, I do remember a few times earlier in the year I had some tingling and numbness on my right side that lasted a day or two.  Didn't pay much attention to any other symptoms.

Anyone have similar problems or have any comments?
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Avatar_n_tn
Sheila and others: Your testimonies are familiar in a disturbing way. I also have suffered varieties of parasthesia in the arms, hands and right leg. Numbness and tingling in the right arm came first, but have been followed by a buzzing, electric shock type feeling mostly in the right arm and a peculiar hot-then-cold feeling in the right leg. Sometimes my right leg feels like it is going to sleep like I have been sitting on it. I get so many viruses it's hard to say what started when, but I have wondered also about the sore spot in front of my right ear, strange sore throats, sore lips and tongue, and tingling scalp. My family doctor doesn't seem to take any of it too seriously, although he did send me for an EMG on my right arm. It confirmed what I already knew -- carpal tunnel syndrome in the right arm (that's all they tested), but it didn't help with the rest of my symptoms which also include severe joint and tendon pain, dizziness and fatigue. I'm suffering, but no one seems to take me seriously.

A friend told me a few days ago (I'm trying to do some research on this myself) that these symptoms could all be peri-menopausal. My GYN's nurse seems to agree (I have to wait to see the GYN). Anyone else have comments? Help?

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I have been having tingling on and off in various parts of my body since June.  I also get those "electric shock" sensations that others have mentioned here.

My GP referred me to 2 neurologists.  He aslo made me nervous when I asked him what he thought it might be as he mentioned MS.
I have had 2 "normal" neuro exams.  I asked if he thought it could be MS and he said that he didn't think so.  

I have done some reading and I wonder what can be detected in an office exam that might alert the neuro to look further or to stop investigating?  

Also-I had a neck MRI thoracic to skull (my sister has ACM) and I wondered if MS lesions would be present in this area in MS?

Thanks for your help!
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Avatar_n_tn
Dear Wade:

Usually the diagnosis of MS is done clinically with the neurological exam and history.  MS can present with sensory finding, but there is usually a characteristic waxing and waning of the symptoms.  MS can be limited to the spinal column, but the MRI would have picked up demyelination lesions.

I am not sure if I helped at all.  If you have MS, the clinical symptoms should become obvious.  Sometimes a disease needs a tincture of time to become manifest.  But, with 2 normal neuro exams, I would bet that you don't have MS.

Sincerely,

CCF Neuro MD
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The MRI was of the Cervical and Upper Thoracic Spine.

Results:

The fourth ventricle has a normal configuration.   The cerebellar tonsils are normal in position and no midline posterior fossa abnormailty is noted.  The brain stem, cerebellum and cervical cord are unremarkable.

Normal alignment of the cervical and upper thoracic vertebral column with no evidence of disc disease or extradural abnormality.

I was wondering about the following:

Would lesions in MS show up in this area?  From time to time I notice that I get shaky hands.  I am unsure whether this is from working alot on the computer (I have poor posture) or the possibilty of MS.

How common is it to have MS without muscle weakness, numbness or fatigue?

Thanks for your help.  Waiting seems to be very hard.
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Right now, I am shaking uncontrolably. I was diagnosed with Sciotica,but I don't feel it is related. I loose my balance at times. They feel real heavy, I just lost 60lbs too.  I get some tingling in my face,like needles. I was having problems with my right-side thinking it is siotica.  Where they administered the pain shots two weeks ago hurts. exspecially when I do take off my garment(s). It feels like my jaw is getting tight.
I do experience pins-needles in my legs, all the way to my toes some times.  Sometimes my right leg feels sluggish.
I do have constipation problems, it is also hard for me to urinate. The shaking comes and goes.(I am scared). I have been seeing a psych for so long.  They say, "Bi-Polar and high anxiety.  The Hospital we use is based on referrals and i lost faith in them.  I thought it could be problems with my liver due to the meds I have been on. There is to many things that going on
Memory loss, I can't find the right words at times.  Right now as I am typing i have a cramping sensation in my left thigh(outer)proximal too my groin, and my lower back is hurting.
I am sorry for taking alot of space.  I would appreciate any response.   Thank you Angel
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Avatar_n_tn
The MRI was of the Cervical and Upper Thoracic Spine.

Results:

The fourth ventricle has a normal configuration. The cerebellar tonsils are normal in position and no midline posterior fossa abnormailty is noted. The brain stem, cerebellum and cervical cord are unremarkable.

Normal alignment of the cervical and upper thoracic vertebral column with no evidence of disc disease or extradural abnormality.

I was wondering about the following:

Would lesions in MS show up in this area? From time to time I notice that I get shaky hands. I am unsure whether this is from working alot on the computer (I have poor posture) or the possibilty of MS.

How common is it to have MS without muscle weakness, numbness or fatigue?

Thanks for your help. Waiting seems to be very hard.

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Avatar_n_tn
Dear Wade:

From the results of your MRI, but what we think of MS presenting in the spinal cord or in the brain, you do not seem to have the characteristic demyelinating lesions of MS.  That is a good sign.  To have only sensory symptoms is usually not common but we have seen patients presenting with this.  However, these patients usually have the characteristic waxing and waning physical symptoms and a positive MRI and/or CSF analysis.

Sincerely,

CCF Neuro MD
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Have been out of town, but wanted to thank the Doc for the response.   I am still buzzing and burning, but not very numb any more. I also wanted to thank graneet for referring me to the MGH web site.  Many wonderful and encouraging posters over there. I will go to my nuero in about 3 weeks and see what he thinks. Thank you again.
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I am currently scheduled for a neurological assessment in March.  I am a 34 yr old female and just started back to school to complete the RN program, so I have access to lots of med sources, and have been trying to put the pieces together with all my symptoms.  (I'm not trying to self-diagnose, just trying to be informed)  It seems I've looked at just about every neurological, muscular, and seizure disorder there is, and everything I've found brings me back to MS.  I first saw my GP in November and he mentioned the possibly of some sort of brain seizure (since is was originally confined to the left side of my body) or MS.  He ordered blood work to rule out problems with thyroid, diabetes, etc. with all the results coming back as normal.  Here's the on again / off again for the last six months now, all of these symptoms occur when the arm / leg is in use:
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I woke up last 2 Saturdays ago with numbness in all of my right
fingertips.   They were also extremely cold which made me
suspect a circulation problem. I am 29 years old and own a house
cleaning business and I have been constantly using this hand for
8 years in that capacity.  I expected the numbness to go away
within a day or two and though it did seem better this weekend
the numbness in the fingertips has worsened. Any suggestions as
to what I may be experiencing? Thank you.
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Dear Terri:

How do your know that your have nystagmus?  Have you watched yourself in the mirror?  Unfortunately, it is impossible to give you any sort of diagnosis over the internet.  Your symptoms could certainly be MS, but also other things.  I would just try to hang tight until your neurological examination (easy for me to say, sorry).  I would try not think about things if possible because it will only make the office visit too trying and you will forget details about what has been going on, and maybe get information incorrect.  Be sure to write everything down so you don't forget. Until you have a good exam and some test, you'll only drive yourself crazy thinking about MS.  Hang in there.  I hope all proves to be a simple vitamin B12 deficiency.

Sincerely,

CCF Neuro MD
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Response to CCF Neuro Comment:  Thank you very much for your input.  The reason I stated nystagmus was although the horizontal movement has occurred during different activities, it is the most noticeable when I'm reading.  Many times the paper suddenly appears to be vibrating rapidly in a back & forth motion.  I will either have to look away or close my eyes, and try to refocus, only to have the paper to begin vibrating again.  Is there any other eye condition that would cause this?  Hopefully, all this would be something as simple as a vit-B12 deficiency, but the blood tests my GP ran did not show any abnormalities.  Also, it just so happens that in my A&P class, we recently performed some blood testing exercises on ourselves.  I'm also keeping in mind that I am a student and not a lab tech, but my hematocrit test showed 42% formed elements, and in the microscope views the RBC's appeared normal in # and size.  As for my diet, I'm not a vegetarian, and I eat a sufficient amount of meat, eggs, & dairy products that would not be consistent with a B12 deficiency.  Once again, thank you for your input.  I am trying to be patient in waiting for my assessment and not get too worked up about the possibility of MS.  I'm actually not thinking of it most of the time, but when the tremors start and paper shakes it's hard not to.
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Avatar_n_tn
Dear Terri:

As you know it isn't diet that causes vitamin B12 deficiency, and even without a macrocytosis, a vitamin B12 deficiency can and is the usual presentation.

I hope your exam is normal.

CCF Neuro MD
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I am a 30 yo white male.  Over the past two years I have noticed that my urinary stream has weakened and that I often have a continuous mild sensation of needing to urinate. I just recently went to see a urologist.  My urologist confirmed that I have a weak stream (Qmax is 8.3 mL/sec vs 20.7 for an average male)and determined that my prostate was normal and that I had no strictures.  I am scheduled for a full urodynamics work up in two weeks; however, my urologist did mention that this problem could be a sign of MS and that I may need to see a neurologist.  

Needless to say, the prospect of possibly having MS took me by surprise and I am concerned.  I have spent the last few days reading everything I could about MS on the net.  After familiarizing myself with the symptoms of MS I have two questions.

First, what percent of MS patients initially exhibit urinary problems as the first sign or one of the first signs of MS?  I ask this because, with two possible exceptions, I don't seem to exhbit any of the typical MS onset symptoms (at least the ones I as a layperson can determine).  A quick run down of what I have:

1.  Urinary Difficulties
  Specifically, hesitancy (5-20 seconds to start stream), weak stream, and a continuous mild sensation of having to urinate that makes me want to visit the restroom every two hours or so.
2.  I may have had about a dozen incidents of Lhermitte is the last year or so.  All of these occured when I was lying in bed while on my stomach, was totally relaxed, and just on the verge of going to sleep.  I would feel a single pulse/shock go through my body. I have never experienced this sensation while standing, sitting, moving around, etc.  I have read that Lhermitte is only supposed to occur when bending the next forward; however, I have never been able to provoke this response by bending my neck forward, and the few times I have experienced it in bed I was immobile and lying on my stomach with my neck turned to the side and slightly back.
3.  I don't know if it is relevant, but every few weeks or so I get an itching sensation in the knuckle joint of one of my fingers that scratching won't help.  It goes away in a few minutes.

What I don't have:
1.  I have never experienced any weakness, numbness, paralysis, tremor, or tingling in any of my extremeties or anywhere on my body.
2.  I have not had any vision disturbances
3.  My balance and coordination seem fine
4.  I dont experience dizziness, headache, or vertigo
5.  I don't have abnormal fatigue
6.  My bowel function and sexual function seem normal and unchanged
7.  Even with respect to urinary tract sysmptoms, I do not have incontinence, I don't leak when I sneeze, I do not have to get up and urinate during the night, and I do not get sudden urges to rush to the bathroom. My residual volume after urination is normal even though I often feel (mildly) like I still need to go.

My second question is that if I do have MS, would my symptoms be indicative of one particular form or another - i.e. relapsing vs.  primary progressive?

One final intersting point.  Although none of my immediate family members have MS, my mother's 52 yo sister has just tentatively been diagnosed with MS and two of her complaints were incontinence and sudden urge.  She does have other symptoms though, including weakness in her legs, leg cramps, vision disturbances, and a tingling scalp.
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I had the sharp stabbing pain, spasms of internal organs, fatigue, severe dizziness, nausea, hot and cold sensations under the skin, itching all over my body,  and all of this settled into burning of the skin in certain areas, and constant numbing and tingling on both sides of the buttocks and down the legs.  I had a rash on the buttocks (5 bumps) just before the numbing and tingling set in. The numbing and tingling has lasted 18 months.  My neurologist put me through all of the tests.  It turned out to be post herpetic neuralgia (nerve damage from the shingles.)  I also have a herniated disc in my lower neck and lower back.  Recently, I had a cortisone, lanocane epidural in the lower back which has taken the pain away.  The numbing comes and goes now - so not sure if the injection helped that or not.
The shingles is soooooooo painful and such an awful experience that one wonders if she is dying.  Don't underestimate the effect of this disease.  It mimics MS on occasion.  Also, the dizziness, nausea, fatigue, and muscle spasms lasted for a good 6 months before the rash appeared.  I have read that one can have shingles without an appearance of the rash, and shingles can be ANYWHERE on the body.  It is a myth that it only appears above the waist.
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I am a 31 year old male who normally is very healthy physically and mentally. For about 3 weeks now, I have had numbness in my feet, legs and hands.  The numbness, or tingling sensation has also traveled to the left side of my head arounf my face, my lower back and other areas.  I went to my GP and he ran blood test, but that came up negative. My "good" cholesterol was down so I've begun walking a bit in the morning.  My CT scan and EEG also were negative with no artifacts.  After continued feelings of numbness and some occasionl trouble walking, I have been referred to a neurologist late March.  In trying to get a grasp on my numbness and tingling, I have discovered other symptoms or conditions which make me wonder...forgetfulness, decreased sexual arousal, and more headaches.  Also, in retrospect, my feet have been numb or tingled for months after waking up.

I'm trying not to over-react, but with the power of the Net, I've found many of my symptoms similar to MS.  If there is a problem with me, why do the doctors take so long to found the problem?
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Avatar_n_tn
Dear Phil:

Sorry to hear about your problems.  There are many diseases that when they initially start, they look for the world of many diseases.  It isn't until tell-tale signs of a particular disease show up that they can be diagnosed with certainity.  This is especially true of MS.  However, your CT being negative is point against having MS, in addition your symptoms do not have the relapsing and remitting flavor of MS.  So, with this in hand it would be very difficult for any physician to tell you that you have MS.  If they did, then you would be marked by every insurance company as having MS and would be difficult for you to shake the diagnosis from your records until someone took the time to prove you didn't have MS.  

Sincerely,

CCF Neuro MD
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I have been having numbness in both of my hands for the last two weeks, and it is getting much worse in the left hand and it started in the fingertip and it is now in my both of my hands and on my stomach and back.  I went to the Doctor and he said it could be alot of things and mentioned MS. He said if it does not get better in the next two weeks that I should see a neuroloigist.  I don't think I can wait that long, because it is very uncomfortable even to type.  It does not hurt, but it feels like you just woke up from sleeping on your hand all night.  It feels tight and tingles with needle-like pricks. I was just wondering why this has just started in the last two weeks?  Should I be concerned or just wait and take the advise of my M.D.?
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Dear Traci:

I am sorry to hear about your numbness.  I can't say it is or is not MS.  My feeling is that it is not MS.  Usually for a diagnosis of MS one needs to have symptoms that wax and wane, and your have only happened once and they are persistent.  Usually the symptoms are not bilaterally symmetrical, as you describe.  So, at this point, by definition you do not have MS.  In addition, your symptoms do not have the flavor of MS, fatigue, muscle weakness, asymmetric features, etc.

Sincerely,

CCF Neuro MD
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Avatar_n_tn
I have been having numbness and tingling mainly on the left side of my body (including my face) for the past week.  My first thought was MS.  I had an MRI of the head and auditory canal in November of 1999 and the results were negative.  The MRI was done because I was having problems with dizzness.  Should I still be concerned about MS?  Should I have another MRI done.  What esle could possibily be wrong?  My other symptoms are a little fatigue and musle weakness.  

Thanks for your help!
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Avatar_n_tn
I have had two b12 shots for a vitamin deficiency. So far I don't feel any differently & my vision is blurred.  Does anyone know how long it takes to feel results from these shots?

Thanks
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I am a 41 year old female. I have had a pins and needle and burning sensation in my feet for about 2 years. At first it was only a problem after working out on a treadmil. It started in my hands about 9 months later. I have had one time were both my arms went completely numb during the night, one year ago. Now it is in my scalp and buttocks. In the last 4 months I have had the flu, 2 yeast infections and 2 UT. infections. The pins and needle sensation seems worse at night for my hands and my feet during the day. MRI of the head shows normal and all blood work shows normal. No other apparent symptoms execpt a week long bout with extreme thirst, including waking up at night to drink and many trips to the bathroom. Still at least 2 trips to the bathroom at night with thrist still high but not as extreme. I have been diagnosed as being in perimenapause. Could this be MS or diabetes? I see the neuro at the end of Nov. Any thoughts.
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