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PubMed: Limitations of MeSH

Limitations of MeSH

MeSH may not be useful if...
  • Your topic is a new or emerging concept for which a MeSH term does not yet exist.
  • You suspect that very little has been published on your topic - meaning, again, there is probably no MeSH term.
  • Your topic is a gene, unless it is a very heavily studied gene such as BRCA1 (most genes do not have MeSH terms).
  • You want to retrieve recently published articles. The newest articles in PubMed may not yet be indexed for MEDLINE. There is a short lag time (a few days to many weeks) between when citations enter the PubMed database and when they are described with MeSH terms.
  • An article you need is not indexed for MEDLINE. PubMed includes over 1.5 million articles that are not indexed with MeSH for MEDLINE.
In these circumstances, a basic keyword search would be the best way to retrieve articles.