Traditional warning labels on medicine boxes tend to be long on confusing language, critics say, but short on helpful numbers. iStockphoto hide caption

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When weighing the risk of heart disease, how the numbers are presented to patients can make all the difference. iStockphoto hide caption

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Will it rain or not? How you interpret the forecast could mean the difference between getting soaked or staying safe. Maria Pavlova/iStockphoto hide caption

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Brian Zikmund-Fisher with his wife, Naomi, and daughter, Eve, in 1999, after he had a bone marrow transplant. He says he made the decision to have the treatment based on factors he couldn't quantify. Courtesy of Brian Zikmund-Fisher hide caption

toggle caption Courtesy of Brian Zikmund-Fisher