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Published: Mon, February 4, 2013 @ 12:00 a.m.

NEWSMAKERS

‘Warm Bodies’ heats up box office with $20M

NEW YORK

The love-struck zombies of “Warm Bodies” swarmed the box office on Super Bowl weekend with a $20 million opening.

On a weekend that Hollywood largely punts to football, the PG-13 film from Lionsgate’s Summit Entertainment easily led the box office, according to studio estimates Sunday.

In second place was “Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters,” with $9.2 million.

“Silver Linings Playbook” came in third with $8.1 million. Rounding out the top five were “Mama,” $6.7 million, fourth place; and “Zero Dark Thirty,” $5.3 million, fifth.

Stun gun used on man near Buckingham Palace

LONDON

Police used a stun gun to arrest a man armed with knives outside Buckingham Palace on Sunday, as tourists gathered to watch the Changing of the Guard ceremony there.

Scotland Yard said the man, thought to be in his 50s, was spotted carrying two knives outside the central gate of the London tourist landmark. He did not threaten other people at the scene, but when challenged by police, he acted aggressively.

Officers used the stun gun on him and took him to a London police station, Scotland Yard said. No one was injured.

How did Ingalls sister become blind?

CHICAGO

Any fan of Laura Ingalls Wilder’s beloved “Little House” books knows how the author’s sister Mary went blind: scarlet fever. But turns out that probably wasn’t the cause, medical experts say, upending one of the more dramatic elements in the classic stories.

An analysis of historical documents, biographical records and other material suggests another disease that causes swelling in the brain and upper spinal cord was the most likely culprit. It was known as “brain fever” in the late 1800s, the setting for the mostly true stories about Wilder’s pioneer family.

Wilder’s letters and unpublished memoir, on which the books are based, suggest she was uncertain about her sister’s illness, referring to it as “some sort of spinal sickness.” And a registry at an Iowa college for blind students that Mary attended says “brain fever” caused her to lose her eyesight, the researchers said.

They found no mention that Mary Ingalls had a red rash that is a hallmark sign of scarlet fever. It’s caused by the same germ that causes strep throat. It is easily treated with anti- biotics that didn’t exist in the 1800s and is no longer considered a serious illness.

Doctors used to think blindness was among the complications, but that’s probably because they misdiagnosed scarlet fever in children who had other diseases, said study author Dr. Beth Tarini, a pediatrician and researcher at the University of Michigan.

Her study appears online today in the journal Pediatrics.

The disease that Mary Ingalls probably had is called meningoencephalitis. It can be caused by bacteria and treated with antibiotics, but Tarini said it’s likely she had the viral kind, which can be spread by mosquitoes and ticks.

Associated Press


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