What are Medical Subject Headings (MeSH)?
Subject specialists describe each article in the MEDLINE database using terms from a standardized list. These terms are called Medical Subject Headings or MeSH. MeSH groups articles about the same topic under the same subject headings, making it easier to find relevant material.
MeSH consists of subject terms in a hierarchical structure which allows for searching at various levels of specificity. At the most general level of the hierarchical structure are very broad headings such as... "Therapeutics"
or the broad heading such as "Nutritional and Metabolic Diseases"
e.g. Nutritional and Metabolic Diseases
Glucose Metabolism Disorders
More specific headings are found at more narrow levels of the twelve-level hierarchy, such as "Caloric Restriction" or "Glucose Metabolism Disorders". There are 26,853 descriptors in 2013 MeSH. There are also over 213,000 entry terms that assist in finding the most appropriate MeSH Heading, for example, "Vitamin C" is an entry term to "Ascorbic Acid." (Source: MESH Fact Sheet)
Why Use MeSH?
MeSH allows you to power search within Medline (OvidSP) and PubMed. Ensure your search is complete and comprehensive by using MeSH and a keyword search strategy.
Note: Check the scope note for your MeSH term to ensure you have the correct term!
Here is a list of potentially useful Medical Subject Headings (MeSH) with their associated scope notes for searching in MEDLINE.
Retrospective Chart Review
Validated Screening Tool
Analysis of Existing Data
Diet Therapy By adjusting the quantity and quality of food intake to improve health status of an individual. NOTE: GEN only: prefer /diet ther with disease term (NT specific diets e.g. Caloric Restriction)
Diet Therapy Subheading. Used with disease headings for dietary and nutritional management of the disease. The concept does not include vitamin or mineral supplements, for which "drug therapy" may be used.
e.g. Diabetes Mellitus/dh [Diet Therapy]
Drug Therapy Subheading. Used with disease headings for the treatment or prevention of disease by the administration of drugs, chemicals, and antibiotics [including Vitamins].
Dietary Supplements. Products in capsule, tablet or liquid form that provide essential nutrients, such as a vitamin, an essential mineral, a protein, an herb, or similar nutritional substance.
Nutritional Support The administration of nutrients for assimilation and utilization by a patient by means other than normal eating. Used for artificial feeding.