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About using MeSH to search for statistics

  • The terms listed below link to the MeSH Database where you will find scope notes, available subheadings, history of the term, synonyms, and broader or narrower terms in MeSH hierarchy.

  • You can also use the MeSH Browser to identify appropriate MeSH Terms.

  • Use the PubMed Search Builder in the MeSH Database to build an initial search strategy then click Search to send the search terms to PubMed.

  • Available subheadings, also called qualifiers, are listed for each MeSH term in the MeSH Database and MeSH Browser. Subheadings are specific to each MeSH term because some subheadings are not appropriate for a given term.

  • When you enter a search statement in PubMed, qualify search terms as MeSH terms using the bracketed tag following the term: [MeSH] or [mh]. Qualify subheadings using [subheading] or [sh]. Qualify publication types using [Publication Type] or [pt].

  • PubMed automatically searches the broad term and all the more specific terms under it. This is often called "automatic explosion" of the term. To search only a specific heading, check "Do not include MeSH terms found below this term in the MeSH hierarchy" before sending the term to the PubMed Search Builder in the MeSH Database. When directly entering terms in PubMed, turn off the automatic explosion feature by qualifying the term with the tag [mh:noexp] or subheading with [sh:noexp].

  • Attach a subheading to a term using a slash followed by the subheading. Two-letter abbreviations for the subheadings can be found in the MeSH Browser. Examples: malaria/epidemiology ; malaria/ep

  • Learn more about using MeSH through these NLM online tutorials:
  • Learn more about using PubMed through resources on the PubMed® Online Training page.
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