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Medical Subject Headings (MeSH®) in MEDLINE®/PubMed®: A Tutorial


MeSH Tree Structures

Some terms appear in more than one branch of the tree. For example:

  • Anatomy
    • Body Regions
      • Head
        • Ear
  • Anatomy
    • Sense Organs
      • Ear
        • Ear, External +
        • Ear, Middle +
        • Ear, Inner +

The hierarchy allows a MEDLINE/PubMed search of a broader term to include the narrower terms in all branches automatically. This is known as "exploding." For example, a search of ear in PubMed would automatically explode to include records indexed with Ear, External; Ear, Middle; and Ear, Inner, as well as all narrower terms under each of these.

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