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December 10, 2010 [posted]

What's New for 2011 MeSH®

Overview of Vocabulary Development and Changes for 2011 MeSH

Totals by Type of Terminology

Helpful Links

Please consult the 2011 online Introduction to MeSH for more details. Lists of new and changed vocabulary are available at these links:

MeSH Vocabulary Changes
New Descriptors - 2011
Changed Descriptors - 2011
Deleted Descriptors - 2011
New Descriptors by Tree Subcategory - 2011

In addition, files of MeSH 2011 vocabulary are also available for downloading.

Rare Diseases

MeSH continued the work begun in 2010 of merging the list of rare disease terms maintained by the Office of Rare Diseases Research (ORDR) into the MeSH vocabulary. The rare disease terms that matched existing MeSH descriptors were merged with those MeSH descriptors. The remainder were introduced as Supplementary Concept Records (Class 3) in MeSH 2011.

As with all SCRs, each of these rare disease SCR terms was mapped to ("Heading Mapped to") at least one current MeSH disease term to help searching and indexing. For example, Snyder Robinson Syndrome is a new disease SCR that is mapped to the MeSH descriptor Mental Retardation, X-Linked. Both of these terms will appear in a MEDLINE citation if the SCR is assigned by the indexer.

Because rare diseases are defined as having a prevalence of fewer than 200,000 affected individuals in the United States they traditionally received less attention and are sometimes called orphan diseases. Having these terms available for indexing purposes will enhance a more precise retrieval of the rare disease articles and contribute to their identification.


Taxonomically algae are polyphyletic and therefore the descriptor Algae no longer easily fits into the MeSH trees. So for 2011 MeSH, the descriptor Algae was deleted and its children distributed among the appropriate eukaryotic trees. Compare the placement for Brown Algae:

Eukaryota [B01]
Algae [B01.040]
Algae, Brown [B01.040.050] +
Algae, Golden-Brown [B01.040.075] +
Algae, Green [B01.040.080] +
Algae, Red [B01.040.100] +
Blood-Borne Pathogens [B01.040.120]
Characeae [B01.040.150] +
Cryptophyta [B01.040.160]
Cyanophora [B01.040.170]
Diatoms [B01.040.185]
Lichens [B01.040.500] +
Oomycetes [B01.040.650] +
Seaweed [B01.040.750] +
Eukaryota [B01]
Stramenopiles [B01.750]
Phaeophyta [B01.750.600] (Brown Algae)
Ascophyllum [B01.750.600.040]
Fucus [B01.750.600.212]
Kelp [B01.750.600.425]
Laminaria [B01.750.600.450]
Macrocystis [B01.750.600.480]
Sargassum [B01.750.600.725]
Undaria [B01.750.600.800

Sex Disorders

Based on the updated classification and new nomenclature recommendations put forth by the 2006 International Intersex Consensus Conference1, the Disorders of Sex Development (previously Sex Differentiation Disorders) trees and descriptors were revised and updated.

Sex Differentiation Disorders [C12.706.842]
Gonadal Dysgenesis [C12.706.842.309] +
Hermaphroditism [C12.706.842.316] +
Kallmann Syndrome [C12.706.842.425]
Klinefelter Syndrome [C12.706.842.454
Disorders of Sex Development [C12.706.316]
46, XX Disorders of Sex Development [C12.706.316.064] +
46, XY Disorders of Sex Development [C12.706.316.096] +
Adrenogenital Syndrome [C12.706.316.129] +
Gonadal Dysgenesis [C12.706.316.309] +
Ovotesticular Disorders of Sex Development [C12.706.316.343]
Sex Chromosome Disorders of Sex Development [C12.706.316.795] +

1Houk CP, Lee PA. Consensus statement on terminology and management: disorders of sex development. Sex Dev. 2008;2(4-5):172-80. Epub 2008 Nov 5. Review. PubMed PMID: 18987491.

By Jacque-Lynne Schulman
MeSH Section

Schulman JL. What's New for 2011 MeSH®. NLM Tech Bull. 2010 Nov-Dec;(377):e17.

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