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Self-sampling identifies twice as many women at risk of cervical cancer

Press Releases   •   Feb 15, 2018 13:26 GMT

Using self-sampling followed by HPV testing, more than twice as many women at risk of developing cervical cancer could be identified and offered preventive treatment. This is shown by researchers at Uppsala University in the first randomised study in the world comparing two ways of identifying cervical cancer, published today in the British Journal of Cancer.

Cervical cancer screening has previously been based on cell sampling and cytology. This method initially reduced the number of cases of cervical cancer in Sweden substantially, but additional effects have been difficulty to achieve. This is due to the limited sensitivity of the method, and the fact that not all women attend screening.

In the new study, researchers have compared today’s screening based on cytology and sampling by a midwife, with the woman taking a self-sample and submitting it for analysis of human papillomavirus, HPV, which is the cause of cervical cancer.

The study is based on 36,390 women between the ages of 30 and 49 who participated in the organised screening in Uppsala County, 2013–2015. These were divided into two groups: one group performed self-sampling for an HPV test, while the other group had a midwife take a cell sample for cytological analysis. Women who were HPV positive repeated the self-sampling after 4 months and those who were HPV positive in both of their tests were called in for gynaecological examination. During 18 months of follow-up, the number of women with severe cell changes was recorded for both groups.

The results show that self-sampling was received very positively. Of the women who were offered self-sampling, 47% opted to participate, compared with 39% among those who were offered regular cell sampling. Among the women who did self-sampling for HPV testing, more than twice as many with cell changes were found than among those who had a cytology analysis. Also, the time until diagnosis was shorter for those who did self-sampling. Screening based on self-sampling also makes it possible to reach women who have previously chosen not to participate and have a sample taken by a midwife.

Calculations of the health-economic consequences of self-sampling and HPV testing show that the total cost of cervical cancer screening could be halved, while still being twice as effective as current the method. Few changes in healthcare can simultaneously double the effectiveness and halve the cost.


For more information, please contact Ulf Gyllensten, Professor of Medical Molecular Genetics, Phone: +46-708-993413, email: Ulf.Gyllensten@igp.uu.se.

Inger Gustavsson, Riina Aarnio, Malin Berggrund, Julia Hedlund-Lindberg, Ann-Sofi Strand, Karin Sanner, Ingrid Wikström, Stefan Enroth, Matts Olovsson & Ulf Gyllensten (2018) “Randomised study shows that repeated self-sampling and HPV test has more than two-fold higher detection rate of women with CIN2+ histology than Pap smear cytology”, British Journal of Cancer, doi:10.1038/bjc.2017.485.

Uppsala University -- quality, knowledge, and creativity since 1477
World-class research and outstanding education of global benefit to society, business, and culture.
Uppsala University is one of northern Europe's highest ranked academic institutions. www.uu.se

Using self-sampling followed by HPV testing, more than twice as many women at risk of developing cervical cancer could be identified and offered preventive treatment. This is shown by researchers at Uppsala University in the first randomised study in the world comparing two ways of identifying cervical cancer, published today in the British Journal of Cancer.

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Christina Garsten new principal at SCAS

Press Releases   •   Feb 14, 2018 13:15 GMT

Christina Garsten has been appointed new principal at the Swedish Collegium for Advanced Study (SCAS). She succeeds Björn Wittrock, who was one of the three founding directors of the Collegium. Garsten will take office on 15 August, 2018.

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Type-2 diabetes: insulin held up in traffic

Press Releases   •   Feb 06, 2018 17:00 GMT

In a new study, researchers from the universities of Uppsala and Lund show why insulin secretion is not working properly in patients suffering from type-2 diabetes. The report is published in the journal Cell Metabolism.

Type 2 diabetes is a major public health issue with globally more than 400 million individuals affected. Both lifestyle and hereditary components contribute to the disease. The main problem is insufficient secretion of the blood glucose-lowering hormone insulin, which is produced by β-cells within the pancreas and secreted into the bloodstream after a meal. A team led by Sebastian Barg at Uppsala University has now discovered that this is due to a defect that slows down the traffic of insulin packages out of the β-cell. Insulin is released when small insulin-containing vesicles fuse with the cell membrane, which ejects the hormone into the bloodstream. For this to happen, each of the vesicles must first attach to the cell membrane and allow its secretion machinery to be assembled.

By comparing β-cells from healthy and type 2 diabetic individuals, the researchers found that the problem lies in the attachment of the insulin vesicles to the cell membrane. In diabetic β-cells, arrival of new vesicles at the cell membrane is dramatically slowed, which is likely due to a reduction in several of the proteins responsible for their attachment at the cell membrane. As a consequence, new insulin vesicles cannot assemble their secretion machinery and the amount of insulin that reaches the body is insufficient.

The hope is now that the report can guide the development of new treatments for type-2 diabetes.

For more information, please contact Sebastian Barg, senior lecturer at the Department of Medical Cell Biology, Uppsala University, tel: + 46 18-471 4660, email: sebastian.barg@mcb.uu.se

Gandasi, Nikhil R et al.(2018) "Glucose dependent granule docking limits insulin secretion and is decreased in human type-2 diabetes" Cell Metabolism, DOI: 10.1016/j.cmet.2017.12.017

Uppsala University -- quality, knowledge, and creativity since 1477
World-class research and outstanding education of global benefit to society, business, and culture.
Uppsala University is one of northern Europe's highest ranked academic institutions. www.uu.se

In a new study, researchers from the universities of Uppsala and Lund show why insulin secretion is not working properly in patients suffering from type-2 diabetes. The report is published in the journal Cell Metabolism.

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New method enables high-resolution measurements of magnetism

Press Releases   •   Feb 06, 2018 11:59 GMT

In a new article, published in Nature Materials, researchers from Beijing, Uppsala and Jülich have made significant progress allowing very high resolution magnetic measurements. With their method it is possible to measure magnetism of individual atomic planes.

Magnetic nanostructures are used in a wide range of applications. Most notably, to store bits of data in hard drives. These structures are becoming so small that the usual magnetic measurement methods fail to provide data with sufficient resolution.

Due to the ever-growing demand for more powerful electronic devices, the next generation spintronic components must have functional units that are only a few nanometers large. It is easier to build a new spintronic device, if we can see it in sufficient detail. This is becoming increasingly difficult with the rapid advance of nano-technologies. One instrument capable of such detailed imaging is the transmission electron microscope.

An electron microscope is a unique experimental tool offering scientists and engineers a wealth of information about all kinds of materials. As opposed to optical microscopes, it uses electrons to study the materials. This enables enormous magnifications. For example, in crystals one can routinely observe individual columns of atoms. Electron microscopes provide information about structure, composition and chemistry of materials. Recently, researchers also found ways to use electron microscopes to measure magnetic properties. However, atomic resolution has not yet been reached in this application.

Ján Rusz and Dmitry Tyutyunnikov at Uppsala University, together with colleagues from Tsinghua University, China, and Forschungszentrum Jülich in Germany have developed and experimentally proven a new method that allows magnetic measurements of individual atomic planes. The method uses a unique transmission electron microscope PICO that can correct both geometrical and chromatic aberrations, allowing a detailed look at individual atomic planes over a wide spectral range.

"The idea came from Dr. Xiaoyan Zhong, with whom we have a growing fruitful collaboration. We have contributed simulations, which have confirmed the validity of the experimental design and demonstrated that the experiment really offers a very detailed look at magnetism of materials," says Ján Rusz.


For more information, please contact: Dr Jan Rusz, Department of Physics and Astronomy, tel. +46 18-471 58 44, +46 70-1679376, email: jan.rusz@physics.uu.se


Article reference:
Z. C. Wang, A. Tavabi, L. Jin, J. Rusz, D. Tyutyunnikov, H. B. Jiang, Y. Moritomo, J. Mayer, R. E. Dunin-Borkowski, R. Yu, J. Zhu, and X.Y. Zhong, (2018) Atomic scale imaging of magnetic circular dichroism by achromatic electron microscopy, Nature Materials

Uppsala University -- quality, knowledge, and creativity since 1477
World-class research and outstanding education of global benefit to society, business, and culture.
Uppsala University is one of northern Europe's highest ranked academic institutions. www.uu.se

In a new article, published in Nature Materials, researchers from Beijing, Uppsala and Jülich have made significant progress allowing very high resolution magnetic measurements. With their method it is possible to measure magnetism of individual atomic planes.

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New technology for accelerated wound healing discovered

Press Releases   •   Feb 05, 2018 20:00 GMT

Researchers at Uppsala University and SLU have found a new way of accelerating wound healing. The technology and the mode of action method published in the highly ranked journal PNAS involves using lactic acid bacteria as vectors to produce and deliver a human chemokine on site in the wounds. The research group is the first in the world to have developed the concept for topical use and the technology could turn out to be disruptive to the field of biologic drugs.

Treatment of large and chronic wounds are a high cost burden to the health care system since effective tools to accelerate healing are lacking. Wound care is today limited to mechanical debridement, use of different dressings and significant amounts of antibiotics preventing or treating wound infections. With the aging population, occurrence of chronic diseases such as diabetes and the alarming global spread of antibiotic resistance, a treatment that kick-starts and accelerates wound healing will have a significant impact. There have been many attempts to solve the problem of chronic wounds that have failed. Drug candidates currently in late stage clinical trials comprise of growth factors, which are traditional protein-based biological drugs associated with high costs, and some trials have been prematurely terminated.

“We have developed a drug candidate, a next-generation biologic medical product, and are now publishing the fantastic results from the preclinical part where wound healing was strongly accelerated in mice,” says Mia Phillipson, Professor at the Department of Medical Cell Biology, Division of Integrative Physiology, Uppsala University.

The acceleration of the healing process occurs due to changes in the microenvironment in the wound, which change the behaviour of specific immune cells. With the newly developed technology, the researchers can increase the level of a chemokine, CXCL12, for a sufficient time period through continuous delivery directly to the wound surface. In addition, bioavailability of CXCL12 is synergistically increased within the wound as the bacterial produced lactic acid causes a slight pH drop that inhibits degradation.

“The chemokine, CXCL12, is endogenously upregulated in injured tissue and by increasing the levels further, more immune cells are recruited and are more specialised to heal the wound, which accelerates the whole process,” says Professor Phillipson.

The potent effect on acceleration of wound healing is demonstrated in healthy mice but also in two models of diabetes, one model of peripheral ischemia as well as in a model using human skin biopsies.

There were clear differences in the composition of immune cells in the wounds and the immune cells present produced higher levels of TGFß at earlier time points. The treatment was local without systemic exposure.

“This is very exciting from a health care perspective. We have a technology that works and now understand the mechanism behind it, how it accelerates wound healing. The next step is a study in a pig model,” says Professor Phillipson.

For more information please contact Mia Phillipson, tel: + 46 18-471 4419, + 46 70-345 50 72, email: Mia.Phillipson@mcb.uu.se

Vågesjö et al. (2018) Accelerated wound healing in mice by on-site production and delivery of CXCL12 by transformed lactic acid bacteria, PNAS, DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1716580115

Uppsala University -- quality, knowledge, and creativity since 1477
World-class research and outstanding education of global benefit to society, business, and culture.
Uppsala University is one of northern Europe's highest ranked academic institutions. www.uu.se

Researchers at Uppsala University and SLU have found a new way of accelerating wound healing. The technology and the mode of action method published in PNAS involves using lactic acid bacteria as vectors to produce and deliver a human chemokine on site in the wounds.

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World Cancer Day 2018: Better cancer care in focus at Uppsala Health Summit 2018

Press Releases   •   Feb 02, 2018 13:55 GMT

Thanks to advances in treatment options, the chances of surviving cancer are better than ever before. However, cancer incidence is increasing and new forms of therapy are expensive. As a result, resource management and priority setting face major challenges. How can we ensure equitable access to diagnosis and treatment? This topic is the focus of Uppsala Health Summit 2018, “Care for Cancer”.

Each year, more than 8 million people world¬wide die from cancer, and over 17 million people receive a cancer diagnosis. The number of new cases is projected to rise dramatically in the coming decades, especially in low and middle-income countries. In May 2017, the World Health Assembly adopted a resolution on cancer requesting member states to develop national cancer plans, including prevention, access to screen¬ing, diagnosis, treatment and care.

“We believe that cancer diagnosis, treatment and care is for everyone. Even with the most advanced technologies and improved treatment options, we will fall short of reducing the number of premature deaths from cancer if we do not firmly address the widening access gap. This World Cancer Day, we call for a collective response, so that every individual affected by cancer has an equal opportunity to receive the best treatment and care no matter where they live, their income, gender, or ethnicity,” says Union for International Cancer Control President, Professor Sanchia Aranda.

Uppsala Health Summit, which takes place on 14–15 June at Uppsala Castle, will bring together a broad spectrum of expertise in the cancer community, from across the globe, including scientists, private sector representatives, healthcare professionals, NGOs and policymakers. The meeting aims to put in motion a constructive dialogue and develop proposals on how to implement opportunities from sci¬ence and innovation for more equal therapeutic access and better patient outcomes.

“Prevention by promoting a healthy personal lifestyle and reducing harmful external exposure is of course extremely important, but can only solve part of the problem. We also need to face the tough questions that arise with the fast-growing need for treatment and care. It’s time to agree on guidelines and priorities that reflect the recent scientific advances, e.g. the opportunities around data, and work out ways we can make them benefit the individual patient,” says Professor Lars Holmberg, Chairman of the Uppsala Health Summit Programme Committee.

The workshops will address a broad set of critical topics, including biomarker development, precision medicine, drug repositioning and how to prepare healthcare systems for more patients. Cross-cutting issues related to how we improve care and treatment for children with cancer, patient involvement, equal care and a global perspective will be an integral part of each workshop session.

As always at Uppsala Health Summit, a plenary programme will guide and inspire the workshop dialogue. Confirmed speakers in plenary sessions include Dr Mariângela Simão, WHO Assistant Director General for Drug Access, Vaccines and Pharmaceuticals, Professor Max Parkin of the Nuffield Department of Population Health, University of Oxford, and the African Cancer Registry Network, and Professor Arnie Purushotham of the Tata Memorial Centre, Mumbai.

For more information, please contact:

Madeleine Neil, Project Manager, Uppsala Health Summit
+46 18 471 19 37, +46 70 425 0891
Madeleine.neil@uadm.uu.se

Thanks to advances in treatment options, the chances of surviving cancer are better than ever before. However, cancer incidence is increasing and new forms of therapy are expensive. As a result, resource management and priority setting face major challenges. How can we ensure equitable access to diagnosis and treatment? This topic is the focus of Uppsala Health Summit 2018, “Care for Cancer”.

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Report Uppsala Health Summit: 100 years after the Spanish flu – how can we protect ourselves against new epidemics?

Press Releases   •   Feb 01, 2018 07:30 GMT

Warding off the threats of future epidemics will be difficult without better cooperation and contingency plans that allow us to act before a crisis hits. This is one of the messages in a new report summarising the discussions of the Uppsala Health Summit on the theme of Tackling Infectious Disease Threats: Prevent, Detect and Respond with a One Health Approach, which took place in October last year.

Despite major advances in global health, infectious diseases continue to pose a major threat. Seventy-five per cent of all new diseases are zoonotic, that is, diseases that can spread between animals and humans.

"Many of the most dangerous infections are constantly crossing the species barriers. In addition, trade and modern day travelling have eroded the natural geographical boundaries of many pathogens. The key to overcoming the threats lies in collaboration; human and veterinary medicine, as well as related disciplines, must work much closer together," says Jens Mattsson, Director-General of the National Veterinary Institute of Sweden, which is one of Uppsala Health Summit partners.

At Uppsala Health Summit, 180 experts from 39 countries met to discuss how veterinarians, public health experts, doctors, biologists, ecologists and social scientists can better analyse needs, plan and evaluate efforts together by applying a One Health perspective, which is based on the understanding that human and animal health are closely intertwined.

One of the main conclusions of the discussions at the summit was that important collaborations must be established and maintained during ‘peace-time’ in order to be effectively mobilised when outbreaks occur.

The Ebola outbreak in West Africa in 2014 showed the world the importance of also engaging local communities at an early stage, and developing efforts in close cooperation with them to build on existing structures and traditions. A country or community with good preparedness to handle common diseases, such as malaria and tuberculosis, is significantly better equipped to handle new and sudden outbreaks.

The conclusions from two days of intensive discussions in seven different workshops have now been compiled in Uppsala Health Summit's Post-Conference Report 2017, which is published today. Some recommendations highlighted in the report are:

- Develop working collaborations during periods of relative calm and maintain these, utilising existing local structures.
- Develop opportunities for collaborating on Big Data to better understand disease spread, and to support the development of better and more accessible diagnostics.
- Develop new thinking around financing mechanisms that support innovation.
- Hold decision makers accountable for taking the sustainable development goals seriously.
- Develop understanding of how we can all contribute to a safer world by protecting our environment and animal and human health.

Topics discussed during the meeting included policies and guidelines for zoonotic disease management in livestock, local communities' resilience to infection outbreaks, effective diagnostics, safe vaccines and drugs, innovations and Big Data, and food security using modern DNA technology.

Download the report at the Uppsala Health Summit website.

For more information, please contact Kerstin Stewart, Deputy Project Manager for the Uppsala Health Summit at Uppsala University, mobile +46-(0)70-4250138, email kerstin.stewart@uadm.uu.se

Uppsala Health Summit is a collaborative effort led by Uppsala University, which 2017 included the Swedish University of Agricultural Science, Uppsala Region, Uppsala University Hospital, the Medical Products Agency, the National Veterinary Institute, the National Food Agency, Uppsala Monitoring Centre, the Swedish Research Council for Health, Working Life and Welfare – Forte, the City of Uppsala and the network World Class Uppsala.

Warding off the threats of future epidemics will be difficult without better cooperation and contingency plans that allow us to act before a crisis hits. This is one message in a new report summarising the discussions of the Uppsala Health Summit on the theme of Tackling Infectious Disease Threats: Prevent, Detect and Respond with a One Health Approach, which took place in October last year.

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Pulling an all-nighter impairs working memory in women

Press Releases   •   Jan 31, 2018 13:50 GMT

Over the last few decades, a wealth of evidence has accumulated to suggest that a lack of sleep is bad for mind and body. Working memory is important for keeping things in mind for briefer periods of time, which thereby facilitates reasoning and planning. A team of sleep scientists from Uppsala University now demonstrates that acute sleep loss impacts working memory differently in women and men.

In the current study from the Department of Neuroscience at Uppsala University, 24 young adults performed a working memory task in the morning following either a full night of sleep or a night of wakefulness. Half of the participants were females, and half were males. The set-up of the working memory task was to learn and remember 8-digit sequences. Contrary to expectations, males’ working memory performance remained unaffected by sleep loss. In contrast, females remembered fewer digits after sleep loss than after a night of sleep. Importantly, even though their performance was reduced, females were unaware of the drop in working performance when sleep-deprived. A lack of awareness of impaired mental performance could increase the risk of accidents and mistakes, which can be dangerous in many private and occupational situations, both for the sleep-deprived person as well as for others.

“Our study suggests that particular attention should be paid to young women facing challenges in which they have to cope with both a high working memory load and a lack of sleep. However, it must be kept in mind that we have not tested whether the observed sex-dependent effects of sleep loss on working memory during morning hours would also occur at other time points of the day. In addition, while our data suggest that sleep loss impairs working memory in a sex-dependent manner, this does not mean that the sex-differences we observed can be generalised to other mental or physical measures of how we are affected by sleep loss,” says Frida Rångtell, PhD student at the Department of Neuroscience and lead author of the study.

For further information, please contact:
Frida Rångtell, PhD student, Department of Neuroscience, Uppsala University, Mobile: + 46 704-92 42 12,
email: frida.rangtell@neuro.uu.se
or
Cecilia Yates, information officer at the Department of Neuroscience, Mobile: +46 704-334801, email: cecilia.yates@neuro.uu.se

Publication: Frida H. Rångtell, Swathy Karamchedu, Peter Andersson, Lisanne Liethof, Marcela Olaya Búcaro, Lauri Lampola, Helgi B. Schiöth, Jonathan Cedernaes, Christian Benedict (2018) A single night of sleep loss impairs objective but not subjective working memory performance in a sex-dependent manner, Journal of Sleep Research, DOI: 10.1111/jsr.12651 Open access

Uppsala University -- quality, knowledge, and creativity since 1477
World-class research and outstanding education of global benefit to society, business, and culture.
Uppsala University is one of northern Europe's highest ranked academic institutions. www.uu.se

Over the last few decades, a wealth of evidence has accumulated to suggest that a lack of sleep is bad for mind and body. Working memory is important for keeping things in mind for briefer periods of time, which thereby facilitates reasoning and planning. A team of sleep scientists from Uppsala University now demonstrates that acute sleep loss impacts working memory differently in women and men.

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The same psychological mechanism explains violence among Muslim and Western extremists

Press Releases   •   Jan 31, 2018 08:46 GMT

Why do some Westerners attack Muslim minorities and asylum seekers and why do some Muslims support and engage in terror against the West? New research suggests that the reasons for such extreme behaviour might be the same in both groups. The results have now been published in the European Journal of Social Psychology.

In five studies among three groups and seven cultural contexts, researchers from Denmark, Norway, Sweden and the US show that the same psychological processes explain mutual outgroup hostility between non-Muslim Westerners, Muslim minorities living in the West, and Muslims living in the Middle East. 

The researchers asked a total of 705 Muslims and 522 non-Muslim Westerners about their attitudes toward the other group. This is the first comparative study that explores whether similar threat perceptions predict outgroup hostility and violence across Muslims living in Europe and the Middle East as well as among non-Muslims in Europe and in the US.

Results showed that the more individuals in each group felt that the other group threatened their culture, traditions, norms, values and way of life, the higher were their intentions to attack and show hostility towards them. The findings held regardless of whether the respondents were Westerners living in the US or Scandinavia or whether they were Muslims living in Europe or the Middle East (e.g., Turkey and Afghanistan).

Interestingly, a fear of terror, war and occupation or a loss of economic and physical well-being made little difference. In other words, non-Muslim Westerners and Muslims alike do not seem to show hostility towards each other because they perceive their physical safety to be threatened, but because they perceive their cultures, values, norms, morals, philosophy and identity as incompatible. The results of the research can explain why Westerners join anti-Muslim organisations such as Pegida and sometimes are even personally willing to violently persecute Muslims. At the same time, it also sheds light on why some Muslims support London bombings and the 9/11 attacks, and personally engage in terror against the West or even go abroad to fight for other Muslims.

“An imagined or perceived ‘Clash of Cultures’ may indeed underlie violence and hostility between some Muslims and non-Muslims,” says Dr. Milan Obaidi, researcher at the Department of Psychology at Uppsala University.

For more information, please contact: Milan Obaidi, tel: +46 18-471 6220, email: milan.obaidi@psyk.uu.se

Milan Obaidi, Jonas R. Kunst, Nour Kteily, Lotte Thomsen, James Sidanius (2018) Living Under Threat: Mutual Threat Perception Drives Anti-Muslim and Anti-Western Hostility in the Age of Terrorism, European Journal of Social Psychology, DOI: 10.1002/ejsp.2362

Uppsala University -- quality, knowledge, and creativity since 1477
World-class research and outstanding education of global benefit to society, business, and culture.
Uppsala University is one of northern Europe's highest ranked academic institutions. www.uu.se

Why do some Westerners attack Muslim minorities and asylum seekers and why do some Muslims support and engage in terror against the West? New research suggests that the reasons for such extreme behaviour might be the same in both groups. The results have now been published in the European Journal of Social Psychology.

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Reduced attention to audiovisual synchrony in infancy predicts autism diagnosis at three years of age

Press Releases   •   Jan 23, 2018 11:00 GMT

A new study in the Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry suggests that infants who pay little attention to synchronous sights and sounds may be at elevated risk of later being diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). This knowledge about early development in ASD may contribute to earlier detection and intervention in the future.

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