PARIS, Dec 29 (AFP): Harry Potter may not yet be able to mend broken bones with a wave of his wand, but the pint-size wizard of book sales apparently has the power to reduce playground injuries, British scientists reported in a study published this week.
Working on a hunch, a group of trauma surgeons from Oxford's John Radcliff Hospital ran a statistical study on the correlation between the incidence of "musculoskelatal injuries" among 7-to-15 year olds and the release of new volumes in the phenomenally popular Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling.
Lo and behold, on the weekends when two of the titles -- "The Order of the Phoenix" and "The Half-Blood Prince" -- were released, emergency-room attendance rates for the designated cohort dropped by nearly half compared to "normal" weekends, 36 and 37 kids respectively in need of mending rather than an average of 67.
"Both these weekends were in mid-summer with good weather. It may therefore be hypothesized," the doctors concluded, tongues firmly in cheeks, "that there is a place for a committee of safety conscious, talented writers who could produce high quality books for the purpose of injury prevention."