TODAY   |  July 19, 2013

New surgical knife could detect cancer

Physicians Roshini Raj and Steven Lamm discuss the week’s hottest headlines fromthe health world, including an experimental surgical knife that could help surgeons know instantly if a patient has cancer.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> a surgical knife that can detect cancer.

>> here are the details, a today contributor and assistant professor of medicine and dr. steven lamb, director at nyu's center for health. good morning to you both.

>> good morning.

>> let's start with the knife. the smart knife to treat cancer. what does it do?

>> this is like out of a science fiction movie . when you're operating on tumors you have make sure you removed every particle. right now the surgeon has to wait up to 30 minutes to get an answer is it tumor free. now this knife which cauterizes the tissue can be analyzed and tell the surgeon are there any cancer cells or not and it was extremely accurate in determining tumors.

>> the problem is that the board borders are difficult to separate out from normal tissue. especially in the brain where a few cells can infull traget to the parts of the brain. if you had a device that could give you a sense that you kept clean margins that would be dramatic.

>> is it a different color?

>> it has a different smell. they can associate what kind of cells is with different tumors. this can be applied to blood vessels and bacteria. you have a machine that can detect it.

>> not ready for primetime yet but very soon.

>> very promising as well. adha. 6.4 million kid miss this country affected by it. perhaps a new way to diagnose it though.

>> that's right. so it's a difficult diagnosis to make sometimes. it's all based on subjective criteria. a physical, a mental history. now there's an actual test based on eeg determining brain waves and patterns of brain waves that can give you a pattern that looks like adhd. it's not used in isolation. you need to talk to the child. but this might be a good tool in aiding in diagnosis, especially when people are getting prescriptions for the drugs when they don't have the disease and they're abusing it. it's an area that we need more specific data on. this is one way to do it.

>> this is a condition that's both overdiagnosed and underdiagnosed. what's interesting about the task sit adds validation that this is not a disorder we made up. there's a biologic basis for it. i guarantee you this will not be and should not be universally used. you should still use a history and exam but in confusing cases this could be a very validating test but don't use it as a substitute for a history and physical exam .

>> this is very interesting. it's a new study out of france looked at about a half million people and found that retiring early actually could lead to dementia, is that right?

>> first of all when do we see studies that have half a million people. it's a huge number which we love to see and yeah that common wisdom of if i retire early my mind is going to go may have validation here. and those that retired early did have a higher risk of all types of dementia but specifically alzheimer's. every year you worked more you reduced your risk by 3.2%. the news here is not don't retire or if you have to retire you have to panic but make sure that you stay socially and mentally active. we're interacting with our colleagues and using our minds more.

>> cross word puzzle every morning.

>> swear by those. it's true.

>> people fear alzheimer's as much as cancer. there's other forms of dementia but staying connecting emotionally -- now it's also possible that those people already starting to fail a little bit are those that take early retirement. we don't know if that data is skewed in that way but try to keep stimulating.

>> love having your expertise on these questions. thanks so much.