medical subject headings


Summary: Controlled vocabulary thesaurus produced by the NATIONAL LIBRARY OF MEDICINE. It consists of sets of terms naming descriptors in a hierarchical structure that permits searching at various levels of specificity.

Top Publications

  1. Nelson S, Schopen M, Savage A, Schulman J, Arluk N. The MeSH translation maintenance system: structure, interface design, and implementation. Stud Health Technol Inform. 2004;107:67-9 pubmed
    The National Library of Medicine (NLM) produces annual editions of the Medical Subject Headings (MeSH). Translations of MeSH are often done to make the vocabulary useful for non-English users...
  2. Wong S, Wilczynski N, Haynes R. Developing optimal search strategies for detecting clinically relevant qualitative studies in MEDLINE. Stud Health Technol Inform. 2004;107:311-6 pubmed
    ..When search terms were combined to optimize sensitivity and specificity, both these values peaked above 90%. Several search strategies can achieve high performance in retrieving qualitative studies from MEDLINE. ..
  3. Richter R, Austin T. Using MeSH (medical subject headings) to enhance PubMed search strategies for evidence-based practice in physical therapy. Phys Ther. 2012;92:124-32 pubmed publisher
    ..The purpose of this technical report is to illustrate how Medical Subject Headings (MeSH), a controlled vocabulary thesaurus of indexing terms, is used to efficiently search MEDLINE, the ..
  4. Sladek R, Tieman J, Fazekas B, Abernethy A, Currow D. Development of a subject search filter to find information relevant to palliative care in the general medical literature. J Med Libr Assoc. 2006;94:394-401 pubmed
    ..Searches comprising Medical Subject Headings (MeSH) and text-words were created for use in Ovid MEDLINE, and retrieved references were compared to the ..
  5. Chang A, Heskett K, Davidson T. Searching the literature using medical subject headings versus text word with PubMed. Laryngoscope. 2006;116:336-40 pubmed
    ..Two search strategies-one based on the use of Medical Subject Headings (MeSH) and the second based on text word searching-were compared...
  6. Golder S, McIntosh H, Duffy S, Glanville J. Developing efficient search strategies to identify reports of adverse effects in MEDLINE and EMBASE. Health Info Libr J. 2006;23:3-12 pubmed
    ..This suggests that better reporting and indexing of adverse effects is required and that an effective generic search filter may not yet be feasible. ..
  7. Douyere M, Soualmia L, Névéol A, Rogozan A, Dahamna B, Leroy J, et al. Enhancing the MeSH thesaurus to retrieve French online health resources in a quality-controlled gateway. Health Info Libr J. 2004;21:253-61 pubmed
    ..The CISMeF health gateway uses several MeSH thesaurus enhancements to optimize information retrieval, hierarchy navigation and automatic indexing. ..
  8. McKibbon K, Wilczynski N, Haynes R. Retrieving randomized controlled trials from medline: a comparison of 38 published search filters. Health Info Libr J. 2009;26:187-202 pubmed publisher
    ..4%)-all others were lower. Filters with more search terms often had lower specificity, especially at high sensitivities. Many RCT filters exist (n = 38). These comparative data can direct the choice of an RCT filter. ..
  9. Thirion B, Robu I, Darmoni S. Optimization of the PubMed Automatic Term Mapping. Stud Health Technol Inform. 2009;150:238-42 pubmed
    ..The proposed query is significantly more precise than the current PubMed query (54.5% vs. 27%). The optimized query proposed would be easy to implement into PubMed. ..

More Information


  1. Wilczynski N, Haynes R. Developing optimal search strategies for detecting clinically sound causation studies in MEDLINE. AMIA Annu Symp Proc. 2003;:719-23 pubmed
    ..The retrieval of causation studies cited in MEDLINE can be substantially enhanced by selected combinations of indexing terms and textwords. ..
  2. Poulter G, Rubin D, Altman R, Seoighe C. MScanner: a classifier for retrieving Medline citations. BMC Bioinformatics. 2008;9:108 pubmed publisher
    ..For maximum speed it uses the Medical Subject Headings (MeSH) and journal of publication as a concise document representation, and takes roughly 90 seconds to ..
  3. Herskovic J, Tanaka L, Hersh W, Bernstam E. A day in the life of PubMed: analysis of a typical day's query log. J Am Med Inform Assoc. 2007;14:212-20 pubmed
    ..However, PubMed queries contained more terms. PubMed's usage profile should be considered when educating users, building user interfaces, and developing future biomedical information retrieval systems. ..
  4. Mottaz A, Yip Y, Ruch P, Veuthey A. Mapping proteins to disease terminologies: from UniProt to MeSH. BMC Bioinformatics. 2008;9 Suppl 5:S3 pubmed publisher
    ..The indexing we provided will help clinicians and researchers navigate from diseases to genes and from genes to diseases in an efficient way. The mapping is available at: ..
  5. Stevenson M, Guo Y, Gaizauskas R, Martinez D. Disambiguation of biomedical text using diverse sources of information. BMC Bioinformatics. 2008;9 Suppl 11:S7 pubmed publisher
    ..Disambiguation of biomedical terms benefits from the use of information from a variety of sources. In particular, MeSH terms have proved to be useful and should be used if available. ..
  6. Zhu S, Zeng J, Mamitsuka H. Enhancing MEDLINE document clustering by incorporating MeSH semantic similarity. Bioinformatics. 2009;25:1944-51 pubmed publisher
    ..Recently, the semantic information of MeSH (Medical Subject Headings) thesaurus is being applied to clustering MEDLINE documents by mapping documents into MeSH concept ..
  7. Nakazato T, Bono H, Matsuda H, Takagi T. Gendoo: functional profiling of gene and disease features using MeSH vocabulary. Nucleic Acids Res. 2009;37:W166-9 pubmed publisher
    ..genes by generating feature profiles of associated drugs, biological phenomena and anatomy with the MeSH (Medical Subject Headings) vocabulary...
  8. Rubin D, Thorn C, Klein T, Altman R. A statistical approach to scanning the biomedical literature for pharmacogenetics knowledge. J Am Med Inform Assoc. 2005;12:121-9 pubmed
    ..statistical models that characterize pharmacogenetics articles in terms of word usage and the profile of Medical Subject Headings (MeSH) used in those articles...
  9. Shetty K, Dalal S. Using information mining of the medical literature to improve drug safety. J Am Med Inform Assoc. 2011;18:668-74 pubmed publisher
    ..4% sensitivity and 40.7% PPV. Results from large-scale literature retrieval and analysis (literature mining) compared favorably with and could complement current drug safety methods. ..
  10. Huang M, Névéol A, Lu Z. Recommending MeSH terms for annotating biomedical articles. J Am Med Inform Assoc. 2011;18:660-7 pubmed publisher
    ..All data sets are available at: ..
  11. Aronson A, Mork J, Gay C, Humphrey S, Rogers W. The NLM Indexing Initiative's Medical Text Indexer. Stud Health Technol Inform. 2004;107:268-72 pubmed
    ..We also discuss some filtering techniques developed to improve MTI's accuracy for use primarily in automatically producing the indexing for several abstracts collections. ..
  12. Wilczynski N, Haynes R. Developing optimal search strategies for detecting clinically sound prognostic studies in MEDLINE: an analytic survey. BMC Med. 2004;2:23 pubmed
    ..The objective of this study is to determine how well various methodologic textwords, Medical Subject Headings, and their Boolean combinations retrieve methodologically sound literature on the prognosis of health ..
  13. Stevenson M, Guo Y. Disambiguation of ambiguous biomedical terms using examples generated from the UMLS Metathesaurus. J Biomed Inform. 2010;43:762-73 pubmed publisher
    ..The examples generated using the novel approach produce an improvement in WSD performance when combined with manually labeled examples. ..
  14. Stevenson M, Guo Y. Disambiguation in the biomedical domain: the role of ambiguity type. J Biomed Inform. 2010;43:972-81 pubmed publisher
    ..features derived from domain-specific knowledge sources, the Unified Medical Language System (UMLS) and Medical Subject Headings (MeSH)...
  15. Damarell R, Tieman J, Sladek R, Davidson P. Development of a heart failure filter for Medline: an objective approach using evidence-based clinical practice guidelines as an alternative to hand searching. BMC Med Res Methodol. 2011;11:12 pubmed publisher
    ..Guidelines may be especially appropriate given their clinical utility. A validated heart failure filter is now available to support health professionals seeking reliable and efficient access to the heart failure literature. ..
  16. Herskovic J, Cohen T, Subramanian D, Iyengar M, Smith J, Bernstam E. MEDRank: using graph-based concept ranking to index biomedical texts. Int J Med Inform. 2011;80:431-41 pubmed publisher
    ..In addition, MEDRank slightly improved overall recall and F(2). ..
  17. Névéol A, Shooshan S, Humphrey S, Mork J, Aronson A. A recent advance in the automatic indexing of the biomedical literature. J Biomed Inform. 2009;42:814-23 pubmed publisher
    ..After reviewing issues in the automatic assignment of Medical Subject Headings (MeSH terms) to biomedical text, we focus more specifically on the new subheading attachment feature for ..
  18. Agarwal P, Searls D. Literature mining in support of drug discovery. Brief Bioinform. 2008;9:479-92 pubmed publisher
    ..This review provides a brief overview of approaches to literature mining as they relate to drug discovery, and offers an illustrative case study of a 'lightweight' approach we have implemented within an industrial context. ..
  19. Fontelo P, Liu F. Finding translational science publications in MEDLINE/PubMed with translational science filters. Clin Transl Sci. 2011;4:455-9 pubmed publisher
    ..Using previously searched terms and standard formulas, the precision and recall of TSS were 0.99 and 0.47, compared to 0.58 and 1.0 for PubMed Entrez, respectively. ..
  20. Sohn S, Kim W, Comeau D, Wilbur W. Optimal training sets for Bayesian prediction of MeSH assignment. J Am Med Inform Assoc. 2008;15:546-53 pubmed publisher
    The aim of this study was to improve naïve Bayes prediction of Medical Subject Headings (MeSH) assignment to documents using optimal training sets found by an active learning inspired method...
  21. Wong S, Wilczynski N, Haynes R, Ramkissoonsingh R. Developing optimal search strategies for detecting sound clinical prediction studies in MEDLINE. AMIA Annu Symp Proc. 2003;:728-32 pubmed
    ..When search terms were combined to optimize sensitivity and specificity, these values reached or were close to 90%. Several search strategies can enhance the retrieval of sound clinical prediction studies. ..
  22. Schardt C, Adams M, Owens T, Keitz S, Fontelo P. Utilization of the PICO framework to improve searching PubMed for clinical questions. BMC Med Inform Decis Mak. 2007;7:16 pubmed
    ..However there was a trend towards higher precision that needs to be investigated in a larger study to determine if PICO can improve the relevancy of search results. ..
  23. Montori V, Wilczynski N, Morgan D, Haynes R. Optimal search strategies for retrieving systematic reviews from Medline: analytical survey. BMJ. 2005;330:68 pubmed
    ..Systematic reviews can be retrieved from Medline with close to perfect sensitivity or specificity, or with high precision, by using empirical search strategies. ..
  24. Haynes R, McKibbon K, Wilczynski N, Walter S, Werre S. Optimal search strategies for retrieving scientifically strong studies of treatment from Medline: analytical survey. BMJ. 2005;330:1179 pubmed
    ..0% and 92.8% v 93.1%). New empirical search strategies have been validated to optimise retrieval from Medline of articles reporting high quality clinical studies on prevention or treatment of health disorders. ..
  25. Djebbari A, Karamycheva S, Howe E, Quackenbush J. MeSHer: identifying biological concepts in microarray assays based on PubMed references and MeSH terms. Bioinformatics. 2005;21:3324-6 pubmed
    MeSHer uses a simple statistical approach to identify biological concepts in the form of Medical Subject Headings (MeSH terms) obtained from the PubMed database that are significantly overrepresented within the identified gene set ..
  26. Darmoni S, Névéol A, Renard J, Gehanno J, Soualmia L, Dahamna B, et al. A MEDLINE categorization algorithm. BMC Med Inform Decis Mak. 2006;6:7 pubmed
    ..The categorization method introduced in this paper is based on the manual indexing of resources with MeSH (terms/subheadings) pairs by NLM indexers. This algorithm may be used as a new bibliometric tool. ..
  27. Wilczynski N, Morgan D, Haynes R. An overview of the design and methods for retrieving high-quality studies for clinical care. BMC Med Inform Decis Mak. 2005;5:20 pubmed
  28. Cheung W, Ouellette B, Wasserman W. Quantitative biomedical annotation using medical subject heading over-representation profiles (MeSHOPs). BMC Bioinformatics. 2012;13:249 pubmed publisher
    ..biomedical articles, providing curated annotation of its contents using a controlled vocabulary known as Medical Subject Headings (MeSH)...
  29. Darmoni S, Soualmia L, Letord C, Jaulent M, Griffon N, Thirion B, et al. Improving information retrieval using Medical Subject Headings Concepts: a test case on rare and chronic diseases. J Med Libr Assoc. 2012;100:176-83 pubmed publisher
    ..Since 2000, when Medical Subject Headings (MeSH) Concepts were introduced, the MeSH Thesaurus has been concept based...
  30. Bekhuis T, Demner Fushman D, Crowley R. Comparative effectiveness research designs: an analysis of terms and coverage in Medical Subject Headings (MeSH) and Emtree. J Med Libr Assoc. 2013;101:92-100 pubmed publisher
    ..effectiveness research (CER) organizations share terms for designs, analyzed coverage of CER designs in Medical Subject Headings (MeSH) and Emtree, and explored whether scientists use CER design terms...
  31. Otero P, Pedernera F, Montenegro S, Borbolla D, García Martí S, Luna D, et al. Evolution of medical informatics in bibliographic databases. Stud Health Technol Inform. 2004;107:301-5 pubmed
    ..So we think that LILACS properly represents the specialty in Latin America and the Caribbean Region. ..
  32. Muin M, Fontelo P, Liu F, Ackerman M. SLIM: an alternative Web interface for MEDLINE/PubMed searches - a preliminary study. BMC Med Inform Decis Mak. 2005;5:37 pubmed
    ..With continued development and by integrating search limits, methodology filters, MeSH terms and levels of evidence, SLIM may be useful in the practice of evidence-based medicine. ..
  33. Moerman C, Deurenberg R, Haafkens J. Locating sex-specific evidence on clinical questions in MEDLINE: a search filter for use on OvidSP. BMC Med Res Methodol. 2009;9:25 pubmed publisher
    ..A filter was developed by screening titles, abstracts and Medical Subject Headings (MeSH) in a set of 80 high quality and relevant papers, 75 of which were identified through a review of ..
  34. Trieschnigg D, Pezik P, Lee V, de Jong F, Kraaij W, Rebholz Schuhmann D. MeSH Up: effective MeSH text classification for improved document retrieval. Bioinformatics. 2009;25:1412-8 pubmed publisher
    Controlled vocabularies such as the Medical Subject Headings (MeSH) thesaurus and the Gene Ontology (GO) provide an efficient way of accessing and organizing biomedical information by reducing the ambiguity inherent to free-text data...
  35. Shultz M. Mapping of medical acronyms and initialisms to Medical Subject Headings (MeSH) across selected systems. J Med Libr Assoc. 2006;94:410-4 pubmed
    ..The purpose of this study is to evaluate how various MEDLINE Medical Subject Headings (MeSH) interfaces map acronyms and initialisms to the MeSH vocabulary...
  36. Muin M, Fontelo P. Technical development of PubMed interact: an improved interface for MEDLINE/PubMed searches. BMC Med Inform Decis Mak. 2006;6:36 pubmed
    ..It may become a valuable technical development for online medical search applications. ..
  37. Hoogendam A, Stalenhoef A, Robbé P, Overbeke A. Analysis of queries sent to PubMed at the point of care: observation of search behaviour in a medical teaching hospital. BMC Med Inform Decis Mak. 2008;8:42 pubmed publisher
    ..Methods to facilitate the formulation of precise queries, using more relevant terms, should be the focus of education and research. ..
  38. Bresell A, Servenius B, Persson B. Ontology annotation treebrowser : an interactive tool where the complementarity of medical subject headings and gene ontology improves the interpretation of gene lists. Appl Bioinformatics. 2006;5:225-36 pubmed
    ..In OAT, we have harmonized the two ontologies of medical subject headings (MeSH) and gene ontology (GO), to enable us to use knowledge both from the literature and the annotation ..
  39. Portaluppi F. Consistency and accuracy of the Medical Subject Headings thesaurus for electronic indexing and retrieval of chronobiologic references. Chronobiol Int. 2007;24:1213-29 pubmed
    The aim of this study was to investigate the reliability of the National Library of Medicine (NLM)'s Medical Subject Headings (MeSH) thesaurus for electronic indexing and retrieval of published chronobiologic papers...
  40. Nakazato T, Takinaka T, Mizuguchi H, Matsuda H, Bono H, Asogawa M. BioCompass: a novel functional inference tool that utilizes MeSH hierarchy to analyze groups of genes. In Silico Biol. 2008;8:53-61 pubmed
    ..Here, we attempted to apply MeSH (Medical Subject Headings) to interpret groups of genes from biological viewpoint...
  41. Sartor M, Ade A, Wright Z, States D, Omenn G, Athey B, et al. Metab2MeSH: annotating compounds with medical subject headings. Bioinformatics. 2012;28:1408-10 pubmed publisher
    ..uses a statistical approach to reliably and automatically annotate compounds with concepts defined in Medical Subject Headings, and the National Library of Medicine's controlled vocabulary for biomedical concepts...
  42. Avillach P, Dufour J, Diallo G, Salvo F, Joubert M, Thiessard F, et al. Design and validation of an automated method to detect known adverse drug reactions in MEDLINE: a contribution from the EU-ADR project. J Am Med Inform Assoc. 2013;20:446-52 pubmed publisher
    ..We defined an approach based on the medical subject headings (MeSH) 'descriptor records' and 'supplementary concept records' thesaurus, using the subheadings '..
  43. Wilczynski N, Haynes R, Lavis J, Ramkissoonsingh R, Arnold Oatley A. Optimal search strategies for detecting health services research studies in MEDLINE. CMAJ. 2004;171:1179-85 pubmed
    ..These strategies have been made available for public use by the US National Library of Medicine at ..
  44. Aphinyanaphongs Y, Tsamardinos I, Statnikov A, Hardin D, Aliferis C. Text categorization models for high-quality article retrieval in internal medicine. J Am Med Inform Assoc. 2005;12:207-16 pubmed
  45. Wieland S, Dickersin K. Selective exposure reporting and Medline indexing limited the search sensitivity for observational studies of the adverse effects of oral contraceptives. J Clin Epidemiol. 2005;58:560-7 pubmed
    ..Central registration of observational studies and all variables they examined should be considered to assure identification of studies examining adverse events associated with health interventions. ..
  46. Michel P, Mouillet E, Salmi L. Comparison of Medical Subject Headings and standard terminology regarding performance of diagnostic tests. J Med Libr Assoc. 2006;94:221-3 pubmed
  47. Rak R, Kurgan L, Reformat M. Multilabel associative classification categorization of MEDLINE articles into MeSH keywords. IEEE Eng Med Biol Mag. 2007;26:47-55 pubmed
    ..A tradeoff can be obtained by using a configuration that optimizes the average between macro and micro F1. ..
  48. Hauser S, Demner Fushman D, Jacobs J, Humphrey S, Ford G, Thoma G. Using wireless handheld computers to seek information at the point of care: an evaluation by clinicians. J Am Med Inform Assoc. 2007;14:807-15 pubmed
    ..The MD on Tap application is an effective interface to MEDLINE in clinical settings, allowing clinicians to quickly find relevant citations. ..
  49. Xiang Z, Qin T, Qin Z, He Y. A genome-wide MeSH-based literature mining system predicts implicit gene-to-gene relationships and networks. BMC Syst Biol. 2013;7 Suppl 3:S9 pubmed publisher
    ..The GenoMesh algorithm and web program provide the first genome-wide, MeSH-based literature mining system that effectively predicts implicit gene-gene interaction relationships and networks in a genome-wide scope. ..
  50. Aphinyanaphongs Y, Aliferis C. Learning Boolean queries for article quality filtering. Stud Health Technol Inform. 2004;107:263-7 pubmed
    ..The trees are understandable, manageable, and able to be validated by humans. The subsequent Boolean queries are sensible and can be readily used as filters by Boolean search engines. ..
  51. Sakji S, Thirion B, Dahamna B, Darmoni S. [Searching French institutional health information sources: catalogue and index of French-language medical sites (CISMeF)]. Presse Med. 2009;38:1443-50 pubmed publisher
    ..In this case, the objective is to improve patient care by better searches and identification of the information required during consultations and hospitalization. ..
  52. Petrova M, Sutcliffe P, Fulford K, Dale J. Search terms and a validated brief search filter to retrieve publications on health-related values in Medline: a word frequency analysis study. J Am Med Inform Assoc. 2012;19:479-88 pubmed publisher
    ..Further work is required to facilitate access to such research and enhance its chances of being translated into practice, policy, and service improvements. ..
  53. Cheung W, Ouellette B, Wasserman W. Compensating for literature annotation bias when predicting novel drug-disease relationships through Medical Subject Heading Over-representation Profile (MeSHOP) similarity. BMC Med Genomics. 2013;6 Suppl 2:S3 pubmed publisher