Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Using subheadings in MEDLINE

Many MEDLINE searchers utilize subheadings when they want to hone in on a specific aspect of a topic. There are 83 of these topical subheadings and when used in conjunction with a MeSH term, you can really fine-tune your results.

Here are some examples of frequently used subheadings: adverse effects, complications, diet therapy, drug therapy, diagnosis, etiology, epidemiology, therapy, psychology, nursing, etc.

I use subheadings frequently when I'm doing a clinical search. For example, if my search question has to do with how effective pharmacotherapy is in improving cognitive symptoms in patients with dementia, then linking the subheading 'drug therapy' to the subject heading 'dementia' will produce a set of citations that is specifically about the treatment of dementia with drugs. Then I would continue to search for the other concepts in my search question.

Don't forget the MeSH website. Check it out!


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