Super senior study looking for volunteers (Dr. Denise Daley, St. Paul's Hospital)

Vancouver’s favourite big band leader suspects there are several reasons for his longevity.

“I still sing and I’m still blowing my horn, playing the saxophone and clarinet, which is good for the diaphragm,” said the 97-year-old Dal Richards over the phone Tuesday afternoon. “And I lead a pretty healthy lifestyle. I walk a mile every day and I still take singing lessons.”

In the first phase of the project, Brooks-Wilson and her team painstakingly gathered detailed information from 500 healthy men and women aged 85 to 109, mainly in the Vancouver area. The seniors provided medical, family and lifestyle information, as well as a blood sample, and were tested for physical and mental function. Brooks-Wilson and co-leader Dr. Denise Daley, of St. Paul’s Hospital and the University of B.C., will compare the genes of these super seniors to those of more than 100,000 men and women, some who have cancer and others who don’t. 

Sandra Thomas reports

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