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Ringing in the ears?

New hope for tinnitus sufferers. [more inside]
posted by digitalprimate on May 26, 2012 - 41 comments

The future of medicine, as seen in 1987

"Fairly predictive tests for Alzheimer's disease, schizophrenia, depression, some malignancies, heart disease, and most of the rest of the major killers and disablers will probably be in place by 2000 to 2010. Many if not most of these ailments will be assessable in terms of a very sophisticated genetic risk profile which it will be possible to generate in infancy or childhood (or in utero)." In 1987, cryonics advocate Mike Darwin wrote about the next twenty years of medicine.
posted by escabeche on May 25, 2012 - 17 comments

How Psychedelic Drugs Can Help Patients Face Death

Scientists investigate the use of psychedelic drugs in end of life therapy "Grob and his colleagues are part of a resurgence of scientific interest in the healing power of psychedelics. Michael Mithoefer, for instance, has shown that MDMA is an effective treatment for severe P.T.S.D. Halpern has examined case studies of people with cluster headaches who took LSD and reported their symptoms greatly diminished. And psychedelics have been recently examined as treatment for alcoholism and other addictions. "
posted by bookman117 on May 18, 2012 - 57 comments

'Resetting' the biological clock

First Gene Therapy Successful Against Aging-Associated Decline: Mouse Lifespan Extended Up to 24% With a Single Treatment A new study consisting of inducing cells to express telomerase, the enzyme which -- metaphorically -- slows down the biological clock -- was successful. The research provides a "proof-of-principle" that this "feasible and safe" approach can effectively "improve health span." [article]
posted by T.D. Strange on May 15, 2012 - 97 comments

The Emergence of a Citation Cartel

The emergence of a citation cartel. "Cell Transplantation is a medical journal published by the Cognizant Communication Corporation of Putnam Valley, New York. In recent years, its impact factor has been growing rapidly. In 2006, it was 3.482. In 2010, it had almost doubled to 6.204. When you look at which journals cite Cell Transplantation, two journals stand out noticeably: the Medical Science Monitor, and The Scientific World Journal. According to the JCR, neither of these journals cited Cell Transplantation until 2010. Then, in 2010, a review article was published in the Medical Science Monitor citing 490 articles, 445 of which were to papers published in Cell Transplantation. All 445 citations pointed to papers published in 2008 or 2009 — the citation window from which the journal’s 2010 impact factor was derived. Of the remaining 45 citations, 44 cited the Medical Science Monitor, again, to papers published in 2008 and 2009. Three of the four authors of this paper sit on the editorial board of Cell Transplantation. Two are associate editors, one is the founding editor. The fourth is the CEO of a medical communications company." (from Scholarly Kitchen, via Andrew Gelman.)
posted by escabeche on May 15, 2012 - 26 comments

Publish or Perish

Are bias and fraud damaging the existing public trust in scientific and medical research? (previously) [more inside]
posted by jeffburdges on May 13, 2012 - 35 comments

The Avian Flu: Transparency vs. Public Safety

"Experimental adaptation of an influenza H5 HA confers respiratory droplet transmission to a reassortant H5 HA/H1N1 virus in ferrets." After an extensive, months-long debate, one of two controversial papers showing ways the H5N1 "avian" influenza virus could potentially become transmissible in mammals with only 3 or 4 mutations was published in Nature today. The journal included an editorial on the merits and drawbacks of "publishing risky research" with regard to biosafety. The debate included an unprecedented recommendation by The US National Science Advisory Board for Biosecurity (NSABB) to block publication -- a decision they later reversed. (Via: 1, 2) Nature's special report has additional articles, including interviews with the teams behind both papers.
posted by zarq on May 3, 2012 - 37 comments

Mechanical evidence of the orbital angular momentum to energy ratio of vortex beams

"We measure, in a single experiment, both the radiation pressure and the torque due to a wide variety of propagating acoustic vortex beams. The results validate, for the first time directly, the theoretically predicted ratio of the orbital angular momentum to linear momentum in a propagating beam. We experimentally determine this ratio using simultaneous measurements of both the levitation force and the torque on an acoustic absorber exerted by a broad range of helical ultrasonic beams produced by a 1000-element matrix transducer array." In other words, science has created the sonic screwdriver, and it could mean new advances in non-invasive surgery. [more inside]
posted by jbickers on Apr 24, 2012 - 12 comments

A Coordinated Assault on Women?

In the wake of so many recent controversies over women and their right to safe, affordable health care and the supposed desire of working women to be "put in their place" by aggressive men in the bedroom, Penny Red suggests that "Right now, we are in the middle of a sexual counter-revolution." [more inside]
posted by bardic on Apr 24, 2012 - 201 comments

This is not a (necessary) test

Choosing Wisely encourages physicians and patients to discuss whether certain medical tests and procedures are unnecessary, especially those that can cause harm. The site offers nine lists of Five Things Physicians and Patients Should Question about the most appropriate care for a patient, including lists for cardiology and oncology. [more inside]
posted by kristi on Apr 5, 2012 - 33 comments

Pot police target political dissidents

"Dozens of federal agents on Monday raided the Oakland businesses and apartment of Richard Lee, the state's most prominent advocate for the legalization and regulation of marijuana, carting away loads of pot and belongings but not revealing the purpose of their investigation." ... Today, "[f]our of the six medical marijuana providers who are suing the U.S. government over last year's raids of pot businesses across Montana have been arrested on federal drug charges."
posted by mrgrimm on Apr 3, 2012 - 149 comments

Back to square one.

Bombshell investigation reveals vast majority of landmark cancer studies cannot be replicated. In a shocking discovery, C. Glenn Begley, former researcher at Amgen Inc, and a team working with him, has found that 47 out of 53 so called "landmark" basic studies on cancer -- a high proportion of them from university labs -- cannot be replicated, with grim consequences for producing new medicines in the future. These were papers in top journals, from reputable labs, which achieved landmark status with frequent citations. The consequences for cancer research are far-reaching. [more inside]
posted by VikingSword on Mar 30, 2012 - 78 comments

Autism Prevalence on the Rise

Since 2000, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has based its estimates of how many children in the United States have autism on surveillance reports from its Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring Network. Every two years, researchers count how many 8-year-olds have an autism spectrum disorder in about a dozen communities across the nation. According to a new report released by the CDC yesterday, (pdf), the latest data estimate that 1 in 88 American children has some form of autism spectrum disorder. (1 in 54 boys and 1 in 252 girls.) That's a 78% increase compared to a decade ago. The report, which analyzed data from 2008, indicates a 23 percent rise in diagnoses of ASDs over a two-year period. (Last link has autoplaying video)
posted by zarq on Mar 30, 2012 - 42 comments

United States v. Health Care Reform

This morning marked day two of marathon proceedings in what's likely the most momentous and politically-charged Supreme Court case since Bush v. Gore: the effort to strike down President Obama's landmark health care reform law. While yesterday was a sleepy affair of obscure technical debate, today's hearings targeted the heart of the law -- the individual mandate that requires most Americans to purchase insurance by 2014. With lower courts delivering a split decision before today, administration lawyers held some hope that at least one conservative justice could be persuaded to uphold the provision, which amortizes the risk that makes universal coverage possible. But after a day of deeply skeptical questioning by swing justice Anthony Kennedy and his fellow conservatives [transcript - audio], the mandate looks to be in grave trouble, with CNN legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin going as far as calling the day "a train wreck" for the administration. But it's far from a done deal, with a third day of hearings tomorrow and a final decision not expected until June.
posted by Rhaomi on Mar 27, 2012 - 373 comments

Nodding Disease

Since 2010, over 3,000 children throughout northern Uganda have come down with nodding disease, a degenerative neurological condition, reports CNN. [more inside]
posted by naturalog on Mar 22, 2012 - 18 comments

You make my heart go to 12,000 RPM

"Nature is not always the best designer, at least when it comes to things that humans must build and maintain. So the newest artificial heart doesn’t imitate the cardiac muscle at all. Instead, it whirs like a little propeller, pushing blood through the body at a steady rate. After 500 million years of evolution accustoming the human body to blood moving through us in spurts, a pulse may not be necessary. That, in any case, is the point of view of the 50-odd calves, and no fewer than three human beings, who have gotten along just fine with their blood coursing through them as evenly as Freon through an air conditioner."
posted by Brandon Blatcher on Mar 11, 2012 - 104 comments

18th Century Pharmacopeia

A Cephalic Infusion
Take dry Peacocks dung (the white part) 4 ounces; Millepedes alive bruised 1 ounce; black Cherry water, white Wine, each 1 pint and half; let them stand cold 24 hours, then having clarify'd it, by often passing it through a Flannel bag; add Langius's Antepileptic water 3 ounces; Spirit of Lavender compound 1 dram and half; Oil of Nutmeg 3 drops; Syrup of Piony compound 6 ounces, mix.
It cleanses out the Meatus of the Brain, when choak'd up and grown unpassable, by reason of muddy Feculencies, roborates its Tone when flaccid and suck, and defecates the Animal Spirits, when clog'd and incens'd with an heterogeneous Copula, refreshes and invigorates them when feeble and fainting; discusses the Mists and Clouds of the Head, and procures Serenity and Sun shine. Therefore we employ it with happy Success in an Idiopathic Head-ach, Vertigo, Scotomy, &c. giving a quarter of a pint Nights and Mornings.
800 medicines from Thomas Fuller's Pharmacopeia Extemporanea, 168 from William Buchan's Domestic Medicine and 11 from The Reverend Twigge's Notebook - indexed and fully searchable.
posted by unliteral on Feb 22, 2012 - 30 comments

The French breast implant scandal

In March 2010, a pair of health inspectors responding to multiple tips paid a three-day visit to the factory headquarters of the Poly Implant Prothese (PIP) company, a leading international maker of breast implants. On their second day, the inspectors found something odd: six discarded plastic containers of Silopren, a liquid silicone designed for industrial, not medical use, lined up along the outside wall of the production site. The lead inspector estimated they had contained nearly 9 tons of liquid silicone. It now appears as if between 300,000 and 400,000 women throughout the world may have received potentially toxic, faulty breast implants containing ingredients never clinically tested on humans, manufactured and distributed by a company that knowingly deceived regulators, suppliers, distributors, medical professionals and ultimately, patients. Reuters photographer's Blog: Operating on an implant scandal. (Last link NSFW, graphic images that contain nudity.) [more inside]
posted by zarq on Feb 18, 2012 - 58 comments

Don't try this at home

"I'm banned," he says. "By whom?" I ask. "My landlord," he says. "And the Swedish Radiation Safety Authority." Jon Ronson on DIY science.
posted by fearfulsymmetry on Feb 4, 2012 - 33 comments

"Please state the nature of the medical emergency."

Qualcomm and the X Prize Foundation have launched a new contest: Envision and build the equivalent of Star Trek's medical tricorder, a portable health monitoring device that can remotely diagnose patients. The winner will receive $10 million. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Feb 2, 2012 - 85 comments

Will we ever know what caused the Salem Witch Trials?

"I would point out to you that medical explanations are modern. That Americans today want medical explanations for things that in the 19th century would have been explained by hysteria, and in the 18th century would have been explained by religious conversion experiences in the context of the Great Awakening, when people were having these types of fits, and in the 17th century by witchcraft."

posted by empath on Jan 30, 2012 - 54 comments

A nation full of immortal poor people.

In 2002, Doug Monroe placed his parents in assisted living. A decade later, he's looking back at "the weighty financial and emotional costs that come with a parent's immortality": The Long Goodbye.
posted by zarq on Jan 25, 2012 - 85 comments

Day at Night, half-hour New York public television interviews from the 70s

Day at Night was an interview series on the public television station of the City University of New York that aired from 1973-4. CUNY TV is in the process of digitizing and uploading the 130 episodes that were produced, with 46 done so far. The episodes are just under half an hour in length. Among the people interviewed by host James Day are author Ray Bradbury, actress Myrna Loy, medical researcher Jonas Salk, singer Cab Calloway, writer Christopher Isherwood, nuclear scientist Edward Teller, comedian Victor Borge, tennis player Billie Jean King, linguist and activist Noam Chomsky, composer Aaron Copland, actor Vincent Price and boxer Muhammad Ali.
posted by Kattullus on Jan 16, 2012 - 6 comments

Falling STAR*D?

Falling STAR*D?: It is common practice for psychiatrists to switch depressive patients between different antidepressants if their current drug does not evince a symptomatic response. Despite clinical wisdom supporting this, little empirical, controlled evidence exists to direct “switching” protocols (e.g. if a patient with Z characteristics is on drug X, is it usually better to switch to drug A, B, or C? Will switching help at all?) in the psychopharmacological treatment of depression. The NIMH-funded STAR*D (Sequenced Alternatives to Relieve Depression) study aimed to address these questions of treatment direction in a very large (n>4000), “real-world” sample using a multi-phase treatment plan with different drugs (and cognitive therapy) at every step to maximize chances of eventual remission. Overall, the NIMH reported that about 67% of patients eventually achieved remission, with few differences in effectiveness between different types of treatment at each step. However, researchers and commentators have raised concerns regarding inconsistent reporting of outcomes, after-the-fact changes in study design and analysis, and other issues that may have inflated, partially invalidated, or misrepresented widely reported treatment outcomes. These inequities may also have implications for the secondary moderator analyses (i.e. does trait A predict switching to X or Y is better?) that were a major reason for the study. [more inside]
posted by Keter on Jan 14, 2012 - 12 comments

Imagine there's no people

So you wake up tomorrow morning to find almost everyone on Earth missing. The Internet will continue to work for a few hours: what information could you download to ensure your survival and rebuild civilization? A few suggestions: The CRC Handbook of Chemistry and Physics. Third Word Development (18 GB of information on agriculture, livestock, food processing, construction, water, sanitation, health and much more). The Global Village Construction Set (previously). Copies of Gray's Anatomy, Where There Is No Doctor, and The Ship Captain’s Medical Guide.

A few more that might be handy even in ordinary times: all of Wikipedia, or perhaps just a portion. (Ideally, of course, you’d already have a bound, printed copy), Offline Google Mail (Chrome) to save correspondence; SiteSucker to download sites you’d like to keep around while offline.
posted by Bora Horza Gobuchul on Jan 5, 2012 - 89 comments

Causes Are Hard

Trials and Errors. Jonah Lehrer's latest piece in Wired is a sort of sequel to his earlier article in the New Yorker on the decline effect (previously). Where that article focused on the institutional factors interfering with the accumulation of truth, this one focuses on the philosophical issues of causation and correlation in modern science. [Via]
posted by homunculus on Jan 5, 2012 - 22 comments

Pain in the neck

Tara Parker-Pope of the New York Times reported on a study from the Annals of Internal Medicine that found chiropractic manipulation to be more effective than medication in relieving acute and subacute neck pain. Light exercise worked too. No adverse effects were reported.
posted by Wordwoman on Jan 3, 2012 - 95 comments

The Case For Enhancing People

Just as Dante found it easier to conjure the pains of Hell than to evoke the joys of Heaven, so too do bioethicists find it easier to concoct the possible perils of a biotech-nanotech-infotech future than to appreciate how enhancements will contribute to flourishing lives. One of the chief goals of this symposium is to think about the indispensable role that virtue plays in human life. The chief motivating concern seems to be the fear that biotechnologies and other human enhancement technologies will somehow undermine human virtue. As we will see, far from undermining virtue, biotech, nanotech, and infotech enhancements will tend to support virtue; that is, they will help enable people to be actually good.
posted by jason's_planet on Dec 30, 2011 - 22 comments

AIDS information posters from around the world

AIDS information posters from around the world You can browse by country, topic, etc., and many of the posters have large linked images. Provided by UCLA's Louise M. Darling Biomedical Library. (Much as it pains me to say it, while these are public health information posters hosted by a medical library, for some, the content will be NSFW.)
posted by carter on Dec 21, 2011 - 1 comment

this is not a double post

How can we better understand the interplay of nature and nurture in determining our personalities, behavior, and vulnerability to disease? Perhaps we should be looking at identical twins. (National Geographic January 2012 cover story) [more inside]
posted by zarq on Dec 19, 2011 - 89 comments

Discovering Autism

An in-depth series in the Los Angeles Times examines whether the increased recognition of autism as a syndrome has led to skyrocketing rates of diagnosis, and how social, ethnic, and geographic factors affect the treatment a child is likely to receive. (via)
Part One: An epidemic of disease or of discovery?
Part Two: Warrior parents fare best in securing autism services
Part Three: Families cling to hope of autism 'recovery'
Part Four: Finding traces of autism in earlier eras
posted by Horace Rumpole on Dec 18, 2011 - 59 comments

Sixteen Rabbits and Three Tabby Cat Legs

Possibly NSFW. The case of the Rabbet Woman (also known as Mary Toft) is a particularly interesting one. Toft, on the advice of an unnamed accomplice, decided to engage in a scam which would enter her into the annals of history: she pretended to give birth to a series of seventeen baby rabbits and three tabby-cat legs, apparently by pushing their dead corpses up her vagina when no one was looking. Over the course of her fraud, she managed to convince many of the leading scientific and medical lights of the day that she was, in fact, giving birth to these rabbits (and three tabby-cat legs), including John Howard (pdf) (and more, also pdf), Cyriacus Ahlers (one of the King's surgeons), Nathaniel St. Andre (Anatomist to the King), Samuel Molyneux, and Sir Richard Manningham, male midwife to the Queen. Sir Richard Manninghan (Man Midwife!), although originally taken in by the fraud, eventually discovers the truth when a porter admits that he had been going to the market to buy baby rabbits for Toft. His Diary provides a pretty good summary of the case. When the fraud was discovered, Toft was charged, although the charges were eventually dropped; more lasting were the effects on some of the medical professionals, whose reputations were permanently ruined. You can read a nice summary in A Cabinet of Curiosities (google books). The case of the Rabbet Woman took the English world by storm. Scores of pamphlets--in this case the 18th century equivalent to tabloids--circulated, as the public devoured case depositions, scientific publications, satirical doggerel, and semi-erotic prints of rabbits bursting forth from Toft's nether regions (sanitized prints here)*. (previously (pay special attention to the comments), previously) [more inside]
posted by kittenmarlowe on Dec 9, 2011 - 91 comments

Medical Patents

Prometheus Labs v. Mayo Clinic has the potential to make decision procedures about medical treatment patentable. [more inside]
posted by jeffburdges on Dec 8, 2011 - 29 comments

How Doctors Die

It’s not a frequent topic of discussion, but doctors die, too. And they don’t die like the rest of us. What’s unusual about them is not how much treatment they get compared to most Americans, but how little.
How Doctors Die.
posted by Foci for Analysis on Dec 5, 2011 - 54 comments

I am Joe's FPP

"I am Your Body"
posted by infini on Dec 2, 2011 - 21 comments

The Xinjiang Procedure

In 2009, Urumqi, China exploded in riots. The assessment of Western media was on-going ethnic clashes. Behind the scenes, Beijing now stands accused of The Xinjiang Procedure, ground zero for the organ harvesting of political prisoners. [more inside]
posted by nickrussell on Nov 29, 2011 - 28 comments

The pain is killing me

Even a little too much Tylenol over a few days can cause a liver failure. Paracetamol or acetaminophen, active ingredient of such over-the-counter painkillers as Tylenol, Panadol, Anacin-3 and many, many others, is considered safe - and it is, in prescribed doses. But even a single overdose can lead to liver failure despite treatment, and then only a liver transplant can avert a fatal outcome. [more inside]
posted by hat_eater on Nov 27, 2011 - 108 comments

Cigarette smoking: an underused tool?

Serum hemoglobin is related to endurance running performance. Smoking is known to enhance serum hemoglobin levels ... alcohol may further enhance this beneficial adaptation.
A recent paper by Kenneth Myers in the Canadian Medical Association Journal reviews the potential benefits of smoking for endurance atheletes. [more inside]
posted by nangar on Nov 26, 2011 - 35 comments

Antibiotics

The US Center for Disease Dynamics, Economics and Policy runs a non-profit, Extending the Cure, which conducts policy research to extend antibiotic effectiveness, and ResistanceMap, which generates interactive analysis tools and maps regarding antibiotic use in Europe and the US. The most recent ResistanceMap visualizations indicate that the US Southeast overprescribes antibiotics at a high rate compared with the rest of the country. Science journalist / "Superbug" blogger Maryn McKenna speculates (while acknowledging that correlation ≠ causation,) that the map might also indicate a link between overuse of antibiotics, obesity, diabetes and stroke. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Nov 25, 2011 - 30 comments

Magic Johnson remains a living symbol of hope

Magic Johnson still beating HIV 20 years later 2 decades after being diagnosed with HIV - the virus that causes AIDS, Magic Johnson is still going strong. His foundation is helping others, giving them hope while educating people about the disease.
posted by 2manyusernames on Nov 8, 2011 - 39 comments

"There's nothing you can't do on a prosthetic leg."

"Every day in the U.S., about 500 people lose a limb. About 1,800 amputation surgeries are performed each year in Oklahoma. More than 1,600 of those — about 90 percent — are lower body amputations. So every day in Oklahoma, four people lose part or all of a leg." (Nationally, the most common procedure is toe amputation.) "These are the stories of four people living in Oklahoma — a mother, a senior, a Marine and a student — all living life on at least one prosthetic leg": Standing Tall [more inside]
posted by zarq on Nov 7, 2011 - 21 comments

Abortion Access Worldwide: A Reference

Since 1988, the Center for Reproductive Rights has compiled a visual map of the laws regulating abortion throughout the world. Earlier this month, they released their 2011 Map in pdf and updated their online World Abortion Laws Map in a new interactive format which allows country comparisons and provides text of abortion laws for certain countries. (Via Good: Can I get an Abortion Here? The Abortion Rights Map of the World)
posted by zarq on Oct 27, 2011 - 35 comments

blood so clear you could read the paper through it.

The Academic Ob/Gyn: Taking Care of the Dying Jehovah’s Witness. The comments are good too.
posted by the young rope-rider on Oct 26, 2011 - 83 comments

"Attack me in the comments section -- GO."

Jane Pratt (formerly of Sassy Magazine and her eponymous Jane,) launched a website for women: xojane, earlier this year. Last week the site's Health and Beauty Director wrote a blog post explaining that she never uses condoms, birth control pills, or other contraception (for fear of becoming fat) and instead relies on the emergency contraceptive Plan B to prevent pregnancy. And a segment of the internet exploded. (Her responses to some of the comments seem a bit clueless for someone with her title.) Critics have noted that the post was filled with "ignorant" "inaccuracies and misconceptions" about womens' health, sex, Plan B and other forms of birth control. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Oct 21, 2011 - 104 comments

Biting back at Malaria...

A new malaria vaccine has been shown effective in large-scale field trials. After decades of disappointment, researchers think they're finally on track to unleash the first practical vaccine against malaria, one of mankind's ancient scourges. In the world's first large field trial of an experimental malaria vaccine, several thousand young children who got three doses had about 55 percent less risk of getting the disease over a year than those who got a control vaccine against rabies or meningitis. [more inside]
posted by BobbyVan on Oct 18, 2011 - 21 comments

Aberrican Me - Ross Capicchioni

Ross Capicchioni's story - Parts 1 and 2 - contains violent descriptions
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 on Oct 6, 2011 - 26 comments

The Walk Again Project

Body suit may soon enable the paralyzed to walk. "In a busy lab at Duke University, Dr. Miguel Nicolelis is merging brain science with engineering in a bid to create something fantastical: a full-body prosthetic device that would allow those immobilized by injury to walk again. On Wednesday, Nicolelis and an international group of collaborators declared that they had cleared a key hurdle on the path toward that goal, demonstrating they could bypass the body's complex network of nerve endings and supply the sensation of touch directly to the brains of monkeys."
posted by homunculus on Oct 6, 2011 - 37 comments

...and this one actually looks respectable.

Researchers have apparently found a way to prevent HIV from damaging the immune system. Johns Hopkins and Imperial reseachers have developed a chemical that breaks down the cholesterol membrane around HIV. This stops the virus intererfering with immune response, and may allow a vaccine that prevents infection. [more inside]
posted by jaduncan on Sep 25, 2011 - 24 comments

They Ate What?

2011 Veterinary Practice News X-ray Contest Winners (runner-ups, PDF)
posted by Blazecock Pileon on Sep 25, 2011 - 51 comments

Scrupulosity

Locke, Johnson, Kierkegaard, Freud, and dozens of other historical figures on the subject of obsessive-compulsive disorder. [more inside]
posted by Iridic on Sep 19, 2011 - 8 comments

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