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December 12, 2007 [posted]

What's New for 2008 MeSH®

Overview of Vocabulary Development and Changes for 2008 MeSH

Totals by Type of Terminology

New 2008 Descriptors by Tree Category

MeSH Tree Category Number of
Anatomy [A] 38
Organisms [B] 16
Diseases [C] 73
Chemicals and Drugs [D] 217
Analytical, Diagnostic and Therapeutic Techniques and Equipment [E] 30
Psychiatry and Psychology [F] 2
Biological Sciences [G] 33
Natural Sciences [H] 12
Anthropology, Education, Sociology and Social Phenomena [I] 27
Technology, Industry, Agriculture [J] 6
Humanities [K] 1
Information Science [L] 1
Named Groups [M] 5
Health Care [N] 34
Publication Characteristics [V] 3
Geographicals [Z] 1

A complete list of new and changed vocabulary is available at these links:

New Headings with Scope Notes - 2008 [166KB]
Replaced Headings - 2008 [13KB]
MN (tree number) Changes - 2008 [209KB]

Note: In August 2007, it was announced that NLM would discontinue printing the Medical Subject Headings (Supplement to Index Medicus® ), sometimes known as the Black and White MeSH. There will not be a 2008 edition. See the article, Black and White MeSH® Discontinued, for details.

Leukemia – Lymphoma Changes

The official nomenclature in this field has gone through many changes over the years and the MeSH tree structure in this area had not been revised, in toto, for a long time. The main authority source used in this revision was the International Classification of Diseases for Oncology (ICD-O), 3d edition, supplemented by recent papers and texts1. Members of some working groups who are advising on the upcoming 4th edition were also consulted.

Many of the leukemia terms have undergone name changes as immunophenotypic and molecular biological techniques have made diagnosis more precise. For instance the old descriptor LEUKEMIA, MYELOID, CHRONIC is now called LEUKEMIA, MYELOGENOUS, CHRONIC, BCR-ABL POSITIVE. The old descriptor LEUKEMIA, MYELOID, PHILADELPHIA-NEGATIVE is now LEUKEMIA, MYELOID, CHRONIC, ATYPICAL, BCR-ABL NEGATIVE.

The old classification system for lymphomas, was discarded for a simpler model. Many old names are now obsolete, though some have been retained as entry terms. This includes morphological descriptions of cell types like "small cleaved-cell" or "large-cell" or "undifferentiated" and grading such as "high grade" or "diffuse." These phrases were contained in old descriptors which now are subsumed under NON-HODGKINS LYMPHOMA or FOLLICULAR LYMPHOMA.

In some cases the distinctions between leukemias and lymphomas are now considered artificial, and so the nomenclature contains new descriptors such as PRECURSOR CELL LYMPHOBLASTIC LEUKEMIA-LYMPHOMA.

Finally, the terms indented under HISTIOCYTIC DISORDERS, MALIGNANT have undergone significant changes.

Government Agencies

New descriptors were created for those Institutes within the National Institutes of Health (NIH) which previously were not represented. The new array, which also includes a few new non-NIH agencies, is below. It can also be viewed at: (scroll down to Government).

Note: The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke was inadvertently omitted and will be added next year.

United States Government Agencies [I01.409.137.500]
Peace Corps [I01.409.137.500.099]
United States Agency for International Development [I01.409.137.500.199]
United States Department of Agriculture [I01.409.137.500.400]
United States Dept. of Health and Human Services [I01.409.137.500.600]
Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (U.S.) [I01.409.137.500.600.310]
National Institutes of Health (U.S.) [I01.409.137.500.600.480]
National Cancer Institute (U.S.) [I01.409.137.500.600.480.150]
National Eye Institute (U.S.) [I01.409.137.500.600.480.200]
National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (U.S.)
National Human Genome Research Institute (U.S.)
National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (U.S.)
National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases
     (U.S.) [I01.409.137.500.600.480.425]
National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (U.S.)
National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (U.S.)
National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (U.S.)
National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (U.S.)
National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (U.S.)
National Institute of General Medical Sciences (U.S.)
National Institute of Mental Health (U.S.)
National Institute of Nursing Research (U.S.)
National Institute on Aging (U.S.) [I01.409.137.500.600.480.465]
National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (U.S.)
National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders
     (U.S.) [I01.409.137.500.600.480.470]
National Institute on Drug Abuse (U.S.) [I01.409.137.500.600.480.485]
National Library of Medicine (U.S.) [I01.409.137.500.600.480.490]
United States Public Health Service [I01.409.137.500.600.650]
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (U.S.)
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (U.S.)
National Center for Health Care Technology (U.S.)
National Center for Health Statistics (U.S.) [I01.409.137.500.600.650.425]
United States Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality
United States Food and Drug Administration
United States Health Resources and Services Administration
National Health Planning Information Center (U.S.) [I01.409.137.500.600.650.790.525]
United States Indian Health Service [I01.409.137.500.600.650.825]
United States Office of Research Integrity [I01.409.137.500.600.650.912]
United States Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration [I01.409.137.500.600.650.920]
United States Department of Homeland Security [I01.409.137.500.650]
United States Department of Veterans Affairs [I01.409.137.500.700]
United States Environmental Protection Agency [I01.409.137.500.937]
United States Federal Trade Commission [I01.409.137.500.968]
United States National Aeronautics and Space Administration [I01.409.137.500.984]
United States Occupational Safety and Health Administration [I01.409.137.500.992]
United States Office of Economic Opportunity [I01.409.137.500.996]
United States Office of National Drug Control Policy [I01.409.137.500.997]
United States Office of Technology Assessment [I01.409.137.500.998]
United States Social Security Administration [I01.409.137.500.999]

Publication Types

To make clearer the distinction between descriptors that describe the subject matter of a bibliographic item and the descriptors that characterize the format of the item, the entire set of Publication Types was reviewed. For those where intellectual pairs were found, the subject matter MeSH descriptor was modified to include the words "as Topic." All publication type descriptors were revised to remove the rubric [Publication Type].

Thus for 2008, here are a few examples:

as subject descriptor as format characterization
Abbreviations as Topic Abbreviations
Almanacs as Topic Almanacs
Meta-Analysis as Topic Meta-Analysis
Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic Randomized Controlled Trial

1Fritz, A [and others], editors. International classification of diseases for oncology (ICD O). 3rd ed. Geneva: World Health Organization; 2000. 240 p.

By Jacque-Lynne Schulman
MeSH Section

Schulman J. What's New for 2008 MeSH®. NLM Tech Bull. 2007 Nov-Dec;(359):e11.

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