DeCS 2002 - Overview

Summary of changes to DeCS/MeSH 2002:

  • 847 descriptors added representing concepts with no directly corresponding descriptors in 2001 DeCS/MeSH
  • 185 descriptors replaced with more up-to-date terminology
  • 47 descritors eliminated
  • 2041 cross references (synonyms) added

The following changes and additions are of particular importance for DeCS/MeSH 2002:


All viruses were reviewed and updated to conform with the 7th Report of the International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses (ICTV). The most significant was the official approval of the concept of viral species and the codification of the official form of virus species names using the format of first letter of first word capitalized, first letter of other words all lower case. Many new virus names have been added to DeCS/MeSH and older terminology has been changed. Ammong the significant changes the names of all genera in the family Retroviridae have been revised. Most species and strains of HTLV viruses (now under Deltaretrovirus) have been reorganized and specific coxsackieviruses are now referred to as specific enteroviruses.

Complementary and Alternative Medicine

The terminology related to complementary and alternative medicine has been re-structured into sub-groups in order to facilitate searching those divisions. The field can most broadly be divided into physical, sensory, mind-body and spiritual plus some which occur in more than one category. Physical includes acupuncture, muscoloskeletal manipulations done by professionals; sensory includes play-, dance-, sound-, color- and other such therapies; mind-body includes biofeedback, breathing, hypnosis, laughter, relaxation; spiritual includes faith, magic, occultism, witchcraft; and unclassified includes homeopathy, phytotherapy, natural childbirth.

Plants and Phytotherapy

Terminology related to plant family and genera headings have been greatly expanded with more use of the scientific Latin binomial names and less use of common names as preferred terminology. In addition, indexing of studies involving plants for therapy will now be coordinated with Phytotherapy and the most specific plant (family, genus or species) in B6 that is available. Because of the importance of what part of the plant is being used, coordinate indexing will use specific Plant Components (B06.413).


Through joint effort with the Kennedy Institute of Ethics, there was enlargement and enhancement of terminology in the area of bioethics. This cooperative project was in preparation for the addition into PubMed of the journal citations which formerly constituted the BIOETHICSLINE database. Some 50 new descriptors were created and numerous other changes were made in DeCS/MeSH.

Transport and Carrier Proteins

There are now 50 new categories of transport proteins under Membrane Transport Proteins. In addition 34 headings that were formerly under Carrier Proteins, Membrane Proteins or Permeases are now arrayed under Membrane Transport Proteins. Many of the 2,018 Supplementary Concept Records (SCRs) that were formerly heading mapped to Carrier Proteins are now mapped to specific categories listed under membrane transport proteins. Several non-mammalian organism-specific proteins classes have been added to accomodate the increasing need for indexing of proteins from model organisms. Many of the organism-specific proteins listed in the SCR are now more clearly distinguished with organism names and HM to these protein classes. The HMG proteins have been organized according to new nomenclature guidelines, which were published in: Trends Biochem Sci 2001 Mar; 26(3):152-3. The new rules were established with the coordinated efforts of staff from MeSH, NCBI and scientists working in the field of HMG protein research.

from: National Library of Medicine's '2002 MeSH Overview', printed version.