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WHSL Clinical Questions using PubMed: Clinical Queries on PubMed

The first in a series of evidence-based medicine guides

Step-by-Step Guide to Using Clincal Queries on PubMed

Clinical Question: Does binge drinking in college students affect long term mortality?  

Log onto PubMed

  1. Under More Resources, select MeSH database
    1. You want to make sure of the MeSH term 
    2. In the search bar on MeSH, type in binge drinking
    3. There is one term (introduced in 2013) for this concept (binge drinking)
  2. Click on Clinical Queries from the MeSH database
    1. This automatically populates the Clinical Queries search bar
  3. In the drop down Category box select Prognosis
  4. In the Scope box, leave the search on Broad
    1. Broad scope search will retrieve some articles that are irrelevant, but you will not miss any relevant articles
    2. Narrow scope search will retrieve fewer articles, but you may miss some that might be important
  5. Results: 142 articles (18 February 2016)
  6. Click on See all (142) at the bottom of the page
  7. The normal PubMed features are now available, such as the selection of filters.
  8. Select a filter appropriate to your population (teenagers)
    1.    Adults: 19-44 years 
  9. Results: 61 articles
  10. You can also activate the Languages (English) filter - results: 60 articles
  11. All 60 articles are about the prognosis for binge drinking in a teenage/young adult population. The aspect concerning long term mortality in your search strategy is implicit in the use of the term prognosis (outcome), and therefore need not be searched as an explicit additional term.

Practice Exercises

Use the examples you were given in the LibGuide Asking the Clincial Question to practise your Clinical Query searching.

1. Scenario There is a difference of opinion about treatment for teenage girls with UTI. One option is to use bactrim; the other is to use macrodantin. Find the strongest evidence for the use of either treatment.

    Formulate a searchable question using this scenario.  What is your question?

    Patient/Population:   Who is the patient/what is the condition being investigated?
    Intervention:  Which treatment can be used?
    Is there a comparative intervention? If so, what is it?
    Is the outcome implicit (and thus not necessary to search for this facet), or explicit (and thus it must be searched)?
[NoteComparative interventions are used most often in questions about therapy. Note further: PubMed will populate only one term automatically into Clinical Queries. You will have to build your search strategy in Clinical Queries by searching for each MeSh term separately, and then adding them with AND, using inverted commas around each term and adding [Mesh] after each term entered.]
 
2. Scenario: Thabo Baloyi is a five year old with frequent episodes of acute otitis media. Some of these episodes have required antibiotic treatment, and his mother is worried that he might develop a resistance to antibiotics if these continue to be prescribed.
 
      Formulate a searchable question using this scenario. What is your question?
 
      Patient/Population:   Who is the patient/what is the condition being investigated?
      Intervention:  Which treatment can be used?
      Is there a comparative intervention? If so, what is it?
      Is the outcome implicit (and thus not necessary to search for this facet), or explicit (and thus it must be searched)?
 
3. Scenario: Annie Pretorius is a 38 year old postpartum woman who has gained considerable weight during her last pregnancy (her third). She wants to know if diet is better than exercise for weight loss and continued control of her weight.
 
Formulate a searchable question using this scenario. What is your question?
 
      Patient/Population:   Who is the patient/what is the condition being investigated?
      Intervention:  Which treatment can be used?
      Is there a comparative intervention? If so, what is it?
      Is the outcome implicit (and thus not necessary to search for this facet), or explicit (and thus it must be searched)?
 
Scenario: George Wembley is a seventy-two year old in good physical health, who runs about twenty km a week to keep fit. Lately however, he has been experiencing quite severe back and lower extremity joint pain during and after running. He wants to know if wearing arch supports will help in reducing his pain.   
 
4. Formulate a searchable question using this scenario. What is your question?
 
      Patient/Population:   Who is the patient/what is the condition being investigated?
      Intervention:  Which treatment can be used?
      Is there a comparative intervention? If so, what is it?
      Is the outcome implicit (and thus not necessary to search for this facet), or explicit (and thus it must be searched)?

How to Use Clinical Queries with MeSH