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Updates to MeSH terms for 2020

The US National Library of Medicine has released the edits for their medical subject headings (MeSH) for 2020. These are used to index articles added to the PubMed and Medline databases, and are also used by other databases including the Cochrane Library. The MeSH terms are updated every year to incorporate new terminology or to re-classify existing terms with up to date definitions. Note that these changes are NOT retrospectively applied. Therefore you may need to incorporate old and new MeSH terms in your searches to retrieve all relevant articles. If you have saved searches or searches you run on a regular basis in order to stay up to date, it is important that you periodically update your search to make sure it continues to retrieve the papers you need.

Here are some of the edits which may be of interest to LSHTM users.

New MeSH terms

The full list of new MeSH terms can be downloaded as a PDF. Here are some particularly relevant to public health or infectious disease research.

There has been a major update of dietary terms including:

  • Animal proteins, dietary
  • Artificially sweetened beverages
  • Avoidant restrictive food intake disorder
  • Diabulimia
  • Edible films
  • Edible insects
  • Famine
  • Food fussiness
  • Horticulture
  • Pork meat
  • Salads
  • Sugar-sweetened beverages
  • Weight prejudice

There has also been an update to a number of technological advances including:

  • Augmented reality
  • Blockchain
  • Citizen science
  • Data management
  • Disruptive technology
  • Internet of things
  • Internet-based intervention
  • Smart glasses
  • Smart materials

New environmental health terms include:

  • Biological monitoring
  • Biosolids
  • E-cigarette vapor
  • Environmental indicators
  • Environmental science
  • Exposome
  • Extreme hot weather
  • Extreme weather
  • Microplastics
  • Sea level rise
  • Wastewater-based epidemiological monitoring
  • Water decolorisation

A number of terms relating to health services have been added, including:

  • Clinical decision rules
  • Community-based health insurance
  • Decision making, shared
  • Fertility clinics
  • Learning health system
  • Military health
  • Military health services
  • Public reporting of healthcare data
  • School mental health services
  • Universal health care
  • Veterans health services

Others include:

  • Empowerment
  • Historical trauma
  • Homonal contraception
  • Indigenous peoples
  • Intersex persons
  • Legal epidemiology
  • Limited English proficiency
  • Narcotic-related disorders
  • Obesity, maternal
  • Opioid epidemic
  • Public nondiscrimination policies
  • Right to health
  • Right to work
  • Undiagnosed diseases
  • Universal design
  • Vaccine excipients
  • Vaccine-prevantable diseases
  • Vector borne diseases

Edits to existing MeSH terms

A full list of changes to existing MeSH terms can be found in PDF format. There are no major changes, edits relevant to LSHTM researchers are the creation of new narrower terms. Therefore, in future, searches can be made more specific by choosing the new term rather than the more general old term.

  • Decision making has a new narrower term: Decision making, shared
  • Ecology has a new narrower term: Environmental Science
  • Environmental monitoring has a new narrower term: Biological monitoring
  • Red meat has a new narrower term: Pork meat
  • Starvation has a new narrower term: Famine
  • Transgender persons has a new narrower term: Intersex persons

New publication types

From 2020 veterinary RCTs will be indexed under the new publication type: Randomized controlled trial, veterinary

If you need more help on using MeSH terms in your search, or want to incorporate these changes in saved searches, you can contact the LSHTM Librarians for help via ServiceDesk.

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