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FSN 584: Lipids, Diet and Cardiovascular Disease: PubMed MeSH

Find MeSH

"MeSH (Medical Subject Headings) is the NLM controlled vocabulary thesaurus used for indexing articles for PubMed"
from: Home - MeSH - NCBI [emphasis added].

Enter Mesh from the bottom of the default search screen. (Better yet, from the bookmark or favorite you make for MeSH in your browser.)

PubMed opening screen. MeSH Database link under "Explore" column circled in red.

Use MeSH

  • Analyze your topic & separate the concepts (see search design worksheet): What is the effect of niacin on cholesterol? → niacin, cholesterol
  • List synonyms & related terms for each concept: niacin → niacin, vitamin b3, etc.
  • Remember:
    • PubMed automatically "explodes" individual MeSH terms
    • PubMed automatically adds selected keyword searches of your entered term
    • Use subheadings to find a few, very targeted results
  • Combine related terms in the Search Builder box using OR

Booleans: ANDs & ORs

Use AND for more specific results
niacin AND cholesterol
  AND narrows a search, finding only results containing both terms.


Use OR to broaden a search with related terms
niacin OR vitamin B3
  OR expands a search, finding results containing either or both terms.

Image credit: "Logic Gates.svg" by HereToHelp, licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0, is available via Wikimedia Commons. Nancy R. Curtis cropped images from original graphic, and modified colors to accommodate color vision disabilities.

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