New MeSH terms for 2018

As medical knowledge evolves, so do Medical Subject Headings. Commonly known as MeSH, these terms are used to describe articles in PubMed and Medline. To retrieve more relevant articles, searchers should be aware of the annual MeSH update from the National Library of Medicine.

A selection of 2018’s new MeSH headings include:

*Prior to 2018, “Contraindications” was a subheading. This subheading has been replaced by several MeSH terms: “Contraindications” along with two narrower terms: “Contraindications, Drug” and “Contraindications, Procedure”.

All details of changes to 2018 MeSH are available here.

Why use MeSH?
When searching in PubMed or Ovid Medline, MeSH terms retrieve more relevant references than searching freely for words in the titles or abstracts. For example, searching “nursing” in titles or abstracts will retrieve articles about breastfeeding as well as articles about being a nurse. Using MeSH instead will retrieve articles about the right kind of nursing: breastfeeding, the practice of nursing care, or the profession itself.

Check the date!
It is also important to check the term’s entry date — the year when the MeSH term started being applied to articles. If the MeSH term has been introduced recently, a systematic searcher should also search for the term in title/abstract, or by using previous MeSH terms, otherwise older articles may not be retrieved.

To learn more about MeSH, or how to search PubMed and Medline more efficiently, register for a training session or contact your hospital librarian.

Published February 9, 2018.