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Using Mesh

Medical Subject Headings (MeSH) is a list (thesaurus) of keywords or descriptors that describe articles in MEDLINE. Indexers scan an entire article and assign up to twenty MeSH terms to each article. Terms are chosen to cover both the central aspects of an article (major headings) and other significant information discussed (minor headings).

By using terms from the MeSH thesaurus, all articles on a given topic can be found regardless of the terminology used by the authors.

Use MeSH to:

  • Identify appropriate terms
  • Confirm definitions
  • Search by a subject
  • Build a search strategy
  • Apply subheadings
  • Focus search results
  • Limit or expand retrieval

MeSH Database:  Search

Links to MeSH are found on the PubMed Home page and under Explore and at the bottom of the Advanced Search screen. The MeSH database allows you to search for and select specific MeSH (Medical Subject Headings) and subheadings to focus your search. Learn more about MeSH from the National Library of Medicine.

Note: Searching with only MeSH terms excludes the most current citations in-process and publisher-supplied citations as they are not indexed with MeSH.