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Pacific News Briefs

Researchers have found that the parts of the brain where music aptitude and appreciation happen are the last to be affected in Alzheimer's sufferers.  [Photo: RNZ]
compiled by Samoa News staff


American Samoa Governor Lolo Moliga has pledged support for the intent of the Paris Agreement on climate change and is backing the United States Climate Alliance.

The same day President Trump pulled out of the Paris Agreement, New York, California, and Washington announced the formation of the Alliance.

It aims to uphold United States commitments under the Paris Agreement, and to try and meet or exceed the Clean Power Plan, an Obama-era rule on power plant emissions.

As of last month, the Alliance had 15 members including Puerto Rico, and now American Samoa has became a member.

The governor's executive order says that as a remote island territory, American Samoa strongly believes in the power of alliances and partnerships to address complex issues such as climate change and so has joined the Climate Alliance.

The governor's executive order also documents the territory's commitment to combat climate change by systematically reducing greenhouse gas emissions and improving resiliency to weather changes.

 (Source: RNZ)


During our teens and early 20s, a combination of rapid brain development and hormones means our brains create really strong neural connections to songs that stay with us throughout our lives – memory researchers call this the ‘reminiscence bump’.

Researchers at the University of Leeds have suggested another reason – in this same period of life many of us experience “the emergence of a stable and enduring self.”

The power of music to prompt feelings, memories and even physical responses has led to it being used more and more in cognitive therapy, particularly in relation to stroke, Alzheimer's disease and dementia.

Researchers have found that the parts of the brain where music aptitude and appreciation happen are the last to be affected in Alzheimer's sufferers.

Listening to familiar music can not only help improve patients’ cognitive ability but also relieve emotional and physical stress, allowing them to maintain physical functions with less reliance on medication.

But what actually happens in our brains when we listen to music?

When we hear music that we like, an ancient part of our brain called the striatum releases dopamine - effectively, our pleasure centers go nuts. 

It’s the same way our brains respond when we eat delicious food or have sex.

When we listen to music there is increased activity in the cerebellum, which is the part of the brain in charge of motor control and muscle movement, researchers at the International Laboratory for Brain, Music and Sound Research have found.

When we hear a song, our bodies have a reflex-like reaction to the rhythm, which can help organize and balance our movements.

This is what's happening when we hear a song and can’t help tapping our toes or clicking our fingers.

Therapists have used this response to help stroke patients improve their coordination and balance.

(Source: RNZ)


Speaking at the Pinktober Parade this morning to promote the Society’s awareness program encouraging early detection as a prevention of cancer in particular breast cancer, Acting Prime Minister Papaliitele Unasa Niko Lee Hang reiterated the government’s support.

“I will fail in my duties if I do not commend the Samoa Cancer Society, her stakeholders and supporters for this patriotic initiative.

“And rest assured government is not sitting on its laurels and we hear and appreciate your cries, and concerns,” said the Acting Prime Minister.

“But the fact remains that too often precious lives are interrupted or cut short by cancer. Breast cancer, according to the Samoa Cancer Society is the most common cancer among Samoan women and is responsible for the majority of deaths every year,” said Papaliitele.

The Acting PM also took note of the fact that breast cancer does not discriminate and it can strike anyone regardless of who you are, reiterating the call to raise awareness of cancer and its symptoms so it can be easily identified and more effectively treat it.

“This month, as we honor those whose lives were tragically cut short by breast cancer and as we stand with their families, let us arm ourselves with the best knowledge, tools, and resources available to fight this devastating disease,” continued Papaliitele.

“Regular screenings and quality care are vital to improving outcomes for thousands of women, and we are making strides in improving treatment options.”

In appreciation of government support, the Cancer Society presented a picture of the Apia town clock painted pink symbolizing the government endorsement.

Prime Minister Tuilaepa Lupesoliai Sailele Malielegaoi had endorsed the initiative by the Society for the memorial clock to be painted pink.

Throughout October or the Pinktober Month, the Samoa Cancer Society will be staging a number of events for the cause.

The parade this week attracted over a 100 supporters including the Blue Sky Samoa, the Samoa Old Pupils Association, the Miss Samoa Alumni, the Samoa Housing Corporation, Samoa Cancer Society and her advocates families, friends and relatives of surviving cancer patients.

(Source: MMPC)


The Samoa Housing Corporation, (SHC) is 200% in favor of Pinktober Month designed to highlight the importance of early detection to prevent cancer.

Taking part in the Pinktober parade this week, Chief Executive Mata’utia Rula Levi and staff are proud to be part of the campaign.

Mata’utia said, “Our support is to honor the memory of staff members who have passed on due to cancer.

“It has brought of staff together as a family through sharing our fears during our daily prayers,” said Mata’utia who is also battling cancer.

Throughout October, the SHC is also using pink files and receipts.

And the Corporation will also be presenting a financial assistance to the Samoa Cancer Association to help with the promotion against cancer.

(Source: MMPC)