Using MeSH for alcohol & health research:
MeSH (Medical Subject Headings): provides a consistent way to retrieve information where authors use different terminology for the same concepts. To search PubMed effectively, you will need to be aware of the MeSH terms used to search for the various topics.
There are several MeSH terms dealing with alcohol consumption, and you can see these listed in the MeSH database.
Click on the coloured icons below to explore each of the five MeSH which relate to alcohol consumption:
Many topics in MeSH have hierarchies of more specific subcategories or related terms. The indentations in the lists reflect the structure of the hierarchy, and the + signs at the end of terms indicate that there is a further hierarchy of terms not displayed here. Any of these terms can be searched individually, or you can "explode" terms to search sections of the list.
For example "exploding" Alcohol-Induced Disorders would retrieve articles on all of the specific alcohol induced disorders included in the list below it, and any subcategories indicated by the presence of a + sign. PubMed's default setting is to "explode" all terms, so if you searched Alcohol-Induced Disorders[mh] then all of the subcategories listed in MeSH would be searched as well:
When you consult the MeSH browser you will see that some of these terms have been introduced to MeSH relatively recently, and this will mean that you need to devise alternative ways of finding earlier articles on the topic. One simple way to do this is to search titles of articles as well using [ti]
Below is a method of searching for binge drinking, using title searching to find additional articles:
("binge drinking"[majr] OR binge drinking[ti]) AND English[lang]
This search strategy uses the MeSH Binge Drinking. The section in the square brackets includes majr - which focuses the search on articles where the subject is a major issue in the article. The search is then extended to look for the same phrase in titles of articles [ti] , and then limited to articles in English or with English abstracts.