In the old days, physicians were patriarchal and made decisions for their patients. That was before the EBM movement. One important part of EBM is to discuss the sizes of the treatment effects. Thereby the patients can themselves consider whether a treatment makes sense or not. Margaret McCartney wrote that common cold treatments "only slightly reduced duration" of colds. However, "slightly" is a subjective word and it would be much more informative to readers to describe what the actual estimates of effect are.
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