Medical Subject Headings (MeSH)
MEDLINE uses MeSH as its controlled vocabulary
6-15 subject headings are assigned per article,
up to 3 assigned
for major emphasis of the article.
MeSH is updated annually to reflect current
MeSH allows for more precise subject searching.
Articles are indexed
to the most specific term available.
MEDLINE allows users to "explode" a category
of terms from
TREES (MeSH terms in a hierarchy from general to specific) to
of the articles on the general term and all of the specific terms listed
underneath. Terms are automatically exploded in PubMed unless you change
Longitudinal Studies if EXPLODED would include:
Cohort Studies if EXPLODED would include:
MeSH definitions, history, and TREES can be found in
Using MeSH to search MEDLINE allows the searcher to
subheadings, limits, add major emphasis, and "explode" to include more
specific terms grouped under a broader heading.
Subheadings are terms which cover general,
aspects of a subject (e.g. diagnosis, etiology, surgery, therapy).
Subheadings are combined with MeSH terms to indicate a specific focus.Example: ASPIRIN/adverse effects
Check tags are descriptors used for commonly
human, animal, female, male, infant, child, adult, aged).
Publication Type is a modifier available for
such as Randomized Controlled Trial,
Meta-Analysis, and Review.
** Note: Publication Type [PT] is always singular (Practice
Guideline) while MeSH terms are always plural (Practice Guidelines).
[PT] indicates the report in the article is a Practice Guideline. An
article which has been indexed with the MeSH term Practice Guidelines is
article about this methodology or process. Some searchers, in order to
be as comprehensive as possible, will use the strategy: Practice
Guideline [PT] OR Practice Guidelines [MeSH].
An advantage of MeSH is that a single term has been
used to represent
a particular concept no matter how it was referred to in the original
An excellent discussion of the use of MeSH in MEDLINE
may be found in the article:
Lowe HJ. Understanding the Medical Subject Heading Vocabulary to Perform
Literature Searches. JAMA 1994 Apr 13;271(14):1103-8.
Useful Terms for EBM MEDLINE Searches
|Medical Subject Headings
- Clinical Trials
- Cost-Benefit Analysis
- Confidence Intervals
- Decision Making
- Decision Trees
- Odds Ratio
- Outcome Assessment
- Practice Guidelines
- Predictive Value of
- Prospective Studies
- Survival Analysis
- Treatment Outcome
- Clinical Trial
- Practice Guideline
- Consensus Development
- Controlled Clinical
- prevention and
- therapeutic use
This page is maintained at www.uic.edu/depts/lib/lhsp/resources/ebm.shtml
Library of the Health Sciences-Peoria. Please send comments to Jo Dorsch email@example.com.
Last updated: Wednesday, 23-Mar-2005 13:20:00 CST