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Daily briefing: The evidence is in — Alcoholics Anonymous works
Alcoholics Anonymous is one of the most effective methods for people who want to give up drinking, finds a systematic review. Plus: All the Dead Sea Scroll fragments at the Museum of the Bible are fakes and how scientists map the hidden spread of COVID-19.
Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and other 12‐step programmes are some of the most effective methods for people who want to give up drinking. A systematic review of 27 studies found that AA and similar approaches also led to lower health-care costs for participants compared with other methods, such as cognitive behavioural therapy. “The fact that A.A. is free and so widely available is also good news,” says psychiatrist John Kelly. “It’s the closest thing in public health we have to a free lunch.”
The fragments of the Dead Sea Scroll displayed at the Museum of the Bible in Washington DC are — as long suspected — fake. All but one of the 16 fragments were found to be made from leather, rather than parchment like the real scrolls, says an expert analysis commissioned by the museum. The fakes were purchased by the billionaire Hobby Lobby family that bankrolls the museum. The family has in recent years paid millions in fines related to smuggled artefacts.
The UK government is racing ahead with plans for an Advanced Research Projects Agency, modelled on the high-risk, high-reward US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). Such freedom comes with responsibility, argues a Nature editorial: you can’t reap the rewards of high-risk research without investing in meticulous preparation and verification.