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2009 MARCH–APRIL No. 367
April 16, 2009 [posted]

Indexing the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) for MEDLINE®


The recent United States legislation that is intended to spur the US economy, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), includes substantial funding for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and for other health care-related activities. Editorials, news items, and other articles about ARRA are already being published in the journals indexed for MEDLINE.

This article is intended to give MeSH® (Medical Subject Headings®) indexing guidance, and, hence, PubMed® searching guidance for articles about ARRA and related topics.

American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA)

Citations to articles about ARRA or about the "economic stimulus plan" will be indexed with the following MeSH vocabulary (i.e., MeSH headings/subheadings):

Financing, Government/legislation & jurisprudence
United States

Areas Related to ARRA

Below are some topics related to ARRA or important emerging areas of medical and health services research upon which ARRA funds distributed by NIH may focus. If an article is about a specific topic in relation to ARRA legislation and funding, such as ARRA and regenerative medicine, the article will be indexed with the two MeSH terms above plus the appropriate additional terms suggested below.

Economic Recession
A number of articles have already been published about the effects of the current economic crisis on health, health care and health behavior, as well as about past economic recessions. Economic Recession is now an Entry Term for Economics. For example, a citation to an article titled "Attempted suicide rates and trends during a period of severe economic recession in Helsinki" has these MeSH terms:

Economics* (as a major topic)
Suicide, Attempted/statistics & numerical data* (with the MeSH heading/subheading as a major topic)

Comparative Effectiveness Research
This may be defined as a type of health care research that compares the results of one approach for managing a disease to the results of other approaches. See also the Congressional Budget Office definition on page three of their December 2007 paper called "Research on the Comparative Effectiveness of Medical Treatments." Citations to general articles about comparative effectiveness research have the MeSH heading:

Health Services Research

Health Services Research should not be used for specific studies comparing effectiveness, such as "Comparing the effectiveness of aripiprazole and quetiapine in schizophrenia and related psychoses." Such studies are usually the reports of a clinical trial and are indexed with the appropriate specific MeSH headings and the appropriate clinical trial Publication Type.

Information Technology for Health Care
Citations to articles on this very general topic will have the MeSH heading:

Medical Informatics

Electronic Medical Records
Citations to articles about electronic medical records will have the MeSH heading:

Medical Records Systems, Computerized

Regenerative Medicine
Regenerative Medicine is already a MeSH heading and defined as "a field of medicine concerned with developing and using strategies aimed at repair or replacement of damaged, diseased, or metabolically deficient organs, tissues and cells via TISSUE ENGINEERING; CELL TRANSPLANTATION; and ARTIFICIAL ORGANS and BIOARTIFICIAL ORGANS and tissues."

Citations to articles about regenerative medicine, in relationship to ARRA also being discussed, will have the headings above and:

Regenerative Medicine/legislation & jurisprudence
and, possibly,
Regenerative Medicine/economics

The economics subheading will be used if actual dollar funding levels or costs are substantively discussed.

Translational Science
Translational science is also called translational research or translational medicine, and may be defined as efforts to transform scientific discoveries arising from laboratory, clinical, or population studies into clinical applications to reduce disease incidence, morbidity and mortality. Citations to general articles about translational science, translational research, or translational medicine will have the MeSH headings:

Biomedical Research
Clinical Medicine

Watch for a future NLM Technical Bulletin article to announce if new ARRA-related MeSH headings are introduced for 2010 MeSH.

Text Word Searching in PubMed

Additional phrases will be added to the PubMed indexes for these searches:

american recovery and reinvestment act [tw]
american recovery [tw]
reinvestment act [tw]
recovery act [tw]

This will allow retrieval of citations to articles that have not yet been indexed with MeSH.

Additional Information about ARRA and NIH

See also the article entitled "American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009" in this same issue of the NLM Technical Bulletin for more information about ARRA and NIH.

By Lou Wave S. Knecht
Bibliographic Services Division
James Marcetich
Indexing Section

Knecht LS, Marcetich J. Indexing the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) for MEDLINE®. NLM Tech Bull. 2009 Mar-Apr;(367):e14.

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