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  • The Know Daily - Wednesday 31 January 2024

The Know Daily - Wednesday 31 January 2024

🩺 New powers for pharmacies, Dry January data + the most-streamed shows of 2023.

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🩺 New powers for pharmacies: From today, people suffering from seven common illnesses can access treatments directly from a pharmacist.

🎻 Fit as a fiddle: Playing a musical instrument may help to maintain good memory in older age.

🥂 Dry January data: A record one in five drinkers gave up alcohol this month.

Pandora - the world’s largest jewellery company by volume - has announced that it will only source 100% recycled silver and gold for its collections from now on, in order to reduce its environmental footprint.

🩺 New powers for pharmacies

From today, people suffering from seven common and minor illnesses - including sore throats and urinary tract infections (UTIs) - can access treatments directly from pharmacists, bypassing the need to see a doctor.

Tell me more.
Under a new NHS England scheme called the Pharmacy First Service, more than 100,000 pharmacies are now able to provide care for patients without them having to visit their GP. 

NHS bosses say enabling pharmacists to issue prescriptions without a doctor’s referral will save up to 10 million GP appointments a year and help people “access quicker and more convenient care”. According to the BBC, similar services are already offered in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

What conditions does the service cover? 
Acute Otitis Media (more commonly known as earache), impetigo, shingles, infected insect bites, sore throat, sinusitis and uncomplicated UTIs in women are all covered by Pharmacy First.

Most of the service can be delivered remotely, said GPonline, provided “there is the ability to conduct a face-to-face assessment either in person or via a ‘good quality’ video consultation if necessary”. Only earache needs an in-person consultation as in that case an examination is required. 

Anything else I should know?
From last month, thousands of women across England have been able to access the oral contraceptive pill through participating pharmacies without needing a GP referral. A similar scheme was rolled out in 2021 to enable pharmacists to carry out blood pressure checks

While the changes have been welcomed by pharmacy groups and largely backed by GPs, concerns have been raised that the new scheme “will barely make a dent on the rising workload which saw 426 million appointments last year”, said The Times.


The world’s largest cruise ship, Royal Caribbean’s Icon of the Seas, set sail from Miami on Saturday. It’s been described as a “human lasagne” - but how many decks does it have?

A) 12
B) 20
C) 22

Scroll to the very bottom for the answer.

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🎻 Fit as a fiddle

Playing a musical instrument may help to maintain good memory in older age, a new study has found.

Go on…
Scientists at the University of Exeter looked at the cognitive data of more than 1,100 people aged over 40, as part of a wider study looking at how brains age and why people develop dementia. 

As part of their research, they examined the effects of playing an instrument, singing, reading and listening to music on aspects such as memory and problem-solving ability - and found that those who played musical instruments benefited the most.

Why is this the case?
According to researchers, it’s probably down to the “multiple cognitive demands” of the activity. Playing the piano or keyboard appears to be particularly beneficial, as does singing - although researchers theorise that this may be down to the social aspect of being in a choir or group.

How big is the benefit?
Prof Anne Corbett, the study’s lead author, told the BBC that while it would be “naïve” to think that taking up a musical instrument would mean you won’t develop dementia, music should be considered as part of a wider lifestyle approach to maintain brain health.

So what’s the takeaway?
If you’ve been looking for an excuse to pick up an instrument, this latest news might just give you the push you need (aside from it being a fun hobby!). 

And if you’re not musically minded, don’t despair. There’s growing evidence to suggest that remaining socially active (aka, chatting with friends and family) is linked with better brain health in old age - and it provides an immediate mood boost.

Do you play an instrument?

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🥂 Dry January data: A record one in five drinkers gave up alcohol this month, a new survey suggests - and here’s how much doing Dry Jan is thought to have saved people on average. 

🇵🇰 Imran Khan conviction: The former Pakistan PM and cricket star has been sentenced to 14 years in prison for corruption - just one day after he was jailed for 10 years in a separate case.

🎶 Facing the music: Universal Music Group has threatened to pull its song catalogue from TikTok, accusing the platform of trying to “bully” the company into a “bad deal” over music rights fees.

📺 Streaming surprises: The most-streamed shows of 2023 have been revealed - and the fact that this legal drama topped the list could indicate a “thirst for nostalgia”. 

🦋 A moth to a flame: Using hi-res and infrared technology, scientists think they have figured out why moths are attracted to lights.

Taking a walk straight after work.

Come for: A surefire way to encourage a greater work-life separation, especially if you’re WFH.

Stay for: Seeing the sunset time gradually get later and later as we edge towards spring.

Recommended by Esther, who’s been finding this the ideal way to clear her head after a busy day.


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Trivia answer: B) Icon of the Seas has a whopping 20 decks - not to mention a 55ft indoor waterfall. Do you fancy a ride?!

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