At this time of year, every medical librarian in the land will be scouring the changes to MeSH (Medical Subject Headings) announced for the new year. Every year new terms are added, and old ones winnowed, from the controlled vocabulary that sits behind and helps the searcher of the more than 22 million records, in PubMed.
I can modestly claim some credit for suggesting a term to the indexers back in the 1990s, Infant, Very Low Birth Weight. But enough about me.
To save my colleagues time, I have read them so you don’t need to. Here are the highlights
- The Brown Recluse Spider (Loxosceles recluse) appears for the first time as a subject heading. I don’t need to tell you that it is, ‘a spider of the genus Loxosceles, found in the midwestern and other parts of the United States, which carries a hemolytic venom that produces local necrosis or ulceration’.
- Premature Ejaculation. Astonishingly, MeSH had never heard of this concept, until now though it was not unreported in the literature. Previously it was all indexed, perhaps more forgivingly, under ejaculation.
- Binge drinking. I think this may be an example of the Americans following, at last, our lead, . In case you didn’t know this is, ‘Drinking an excessive amount of ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGES in a short period of time’. Note the use of upper case.
- You may have thought that the decade of sparkling water was the eighties, but MeSH has just caught up and you will now find it, defines as, ‘Water naturally or artificially infused with CARBON DIOXIDE’, and linked to from Carbonated Mineral Water, Club Soda, Seltzer Water, and Soda Water
- Although the procedure is as old as Hippocrates Hemorrhoidectomy has had to wait until now to be a term in its own right. It was previously indexed as Hemorrhoids/surgery
As for changes to existing terms, Coprophagia has been replaced by human coprophagia, an important distinction, I’m sure you’ll agree.
So here’s a challenge. Write something short, in prose or verse, as you wish, that mentions at least four of the above concepts in a convincing and integrated literary whole, and post it as a comment. A small prize may be awarded, at my discretion, to the best effort.