What is Big Think?  

We are Big Idea Hunters…

We live in a time of information abundance, which far too many of us see as information overload. With the sum total of human knowledge, past and present, at our fingertips, we’re faced with a crisis of attention: which ideas should we engage with, and why? Big Think is an evolving roadmap to the best thinking on the planet — the ideas that can help you think flexibly and act decisively in a multivariate world.

A word about Big Ideas and Themes — The architecture of Big Think

Big ideas are lenses for envisioning the future. Every article and video on bigthink.com and on our learning platforms is based on an emerging “big idea” that is significant, widely relevant, and actionable. We’re sifting the noise for the questions and insights that have the power to change all of our lives, for decades to come. For example, reverse-engineering is a big idea in that the concept is increasingly useful across multiple disciplines, from education to nanotechnology.

Themes are the seven broad umbrellas under which we organize the hundreds of big ideas that populate Big Think. They include New World Order, Earth and Beyond, 21st Century Living, Going Mental, Extreme Biology, Power and Influence, and Inventing the Future.

Big Think Features:

12,000+ Expert Videos

1

Browse videos featuring experts across a wide range of disciplines, from personal health to business leadership to neuroscience.

Watch videos

World Renowned Bloggers

2

Big Think’s contributors offer expert analysis of the big ideas behind the news.

Go to blogs

Big Think Edge

3

Big Think’s Edge learning platform for career mentorship and professional development provides engaging and actionable courses delivered by the people who are shaping our future.

Find out more
Close

A Surgical Knife That Diagnoses Cancer Almost On Contact

July 18, 2013, 3:00 PM
Shutterstock_69519037

What's the Latest Development?

Cancer surgery may have become just a little easier thanks to the development of an intelligent knife, or "iKnife," that determines whether a tissue sample is cancerous within seconds of making contact. Created by Dr. Zoltan Takats of Imperial College London, it works like a typical electrosurgical knife in that it uses electrical current to vaporize tissue as it cuts, minimizing blood loss. The difference is that the smoke created during the process is collected by a mass spectrometer, which then analyzes it for chemical signatures that are compared against an online database. In real-world tests on 91 patients, the iKnife correctly diagnosed all of the tissue samples taken.

What's the Big Idea?

During surgery, it can be very difficult to determine which tissue is cancerous and which is healthy by sight alone. However, in order to minimize a recurrence, all of the cancerous tissue must be removed. By providing diagnostic feedback during the surgery rather than afterwards -- when the sample has to go to a lab for analysis -- the iKnife greatly improves the likelihood of success. Takats says that the device could help identify other conditions as well, such as the types of bacteria present.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock.com

Read it at ScienceDaily

 

A Surgical Knife That Diagn...

Newsletter: Share: