Thursday, October 31, 2013

Templates for eight common types of MeSH-based searches

I teach my "Introduction to Drug Information" students to use the templates, listed beneath this introductory paragraph, as a guide when they initially attempt to create a focused, relatively thorough  search.  I decided to post these templates here as I occasionally use this blog when working with my students. When teaching Intro to DI, I suggest that, after reviewing results of an initial search, students try the search again without subheadings to see if additional useful results are retrieved.  Of course, removing the subheadings sometimes makes the search intolerably unfocused . There is some redundancy in the templates, especially in the use of subheadings. PubMed explodes subheadings by default.  For example, in PubMed, one does not have to use the narrower  "poisoning" and "toxcity" subheadings with a specific heading if when one is already using the broader "adverse effects" subheading with that specific heading.  However, not all versions of MEDLINE explode subheadings.  For instance, I also have access to EBSCOhost MEDLINand it does not explode subheadings.

  1. Drug safety/ consumer product safety
    "Drug A/adverse effects"[mesh] OR "Drug A/poisoning"[mesh] OR "Drug A/toxicity"[mesh] OR ("Drug A"[mesh] AND "drug effects"[sh]) OR ("Drug A"[mesh] AND ("Safety"[mesh] OR "consumer product safety"[mesh]))

  2. Drug A (Procedure A) that doesn't cause harm (organ that could be harmed is not specified)
    "Drug A"[mesh] AND "drug effects"[sh]

  3. Drug A (Procedure A) that doesn’t cause (or is least likely to cause) harm to Organ B
    "Drug A"[mesh] AND "Organ B/drug effects"[mesh]

  4. Drug A (Procedure A) causes Disease B
    ("Drug A/adverse effects"[mesh] OR "Drug A/poisoning"[mesh] OR "Drug A/toxicity"[mesh]) AND ("Disease B/etiology"[mesh] OR "Disease B/chemically-induced"[mesh])

  5. Drug A used to treat Disease B
    (“Drug A/administration and dosage”[mesh] OR “Drug A/therapeutic use”[mesh]) AND (“Disease B/drug therapy”[mesh] “Disease B/therapy”[mesh] )
  6. Drug A used to prevent Disease B
    "Drug A/therapeutic use"[mesh] AND "Disease B/prevention and control"[mesh]

  7. Drug A used to prevent Disease B in patients with Disease C
    "Drug A/therapeutic use"[mesh] AND "Disease B/prevention and control"[mesh] AND "Disease C"[mesh]

  8. Disease A results in occurrence of Disease B
    "Disease A/complications"[mesh] AND "Disease B/etiology"[mesh]
Note on [Supplementary Concepts]:
Some concept's have no MeSH heading but have a "Supplementary Concept" in the MeSH database instead.
  • Supplementary concepts do not have subheadings.
  • All supplementary concepts are mapped to actual headings.
If one of your concept only has a "Supplementary Concept" rather than a MeSH, AND together the supplementary concept and the headings mapped to with the desired subheading. ex. ("Drug A"[supplementary concept]) AND ("drug heading mapped to 1/therapeutic use"[mesh] OR "drug heading mapped to 2/therapeutic use"[mesh]..) AND ("Disease B/prevention and control"[mesh])

In some cases, it works better to use the a drug class heading rather than the "heading mapped to".