How many of you believe that crucial healthcare issues are falsely represented by corporate America for profit or political advantage? How many believe that mass media representations of complex medical questions are frequently confused and misleading? Over the past year alone, hype and hysteria have overridden critical discussion of medical topics from prescription drugs to bioterror to the West Nile virus.

The purpose of this biweekly column is to answer your questions about current medical issues and their relevance to today’s politics as we attempt to discover the real medicine beneath the hype. This discussion can be two-pronged, as we attempt to uncover the strategy and motivations behind the decisions made in Washington that affect the nation’s health while pursuing information about illness itself and how it affects our lives.

Subjects I’d like to address could include things like the question of mandatory HIV testing for convicted rapists, which has been miscast as a civil rights issue on behalf of the convict, and the true efficacy of potassium iodide pills, which have been pushed for profit by drug companies and politicians misleadingly proclaiming their utility in combating radiation sickness.

To send me a question, click here. I’ll choose two or so letters each installment to address in this space. Together we can look for answers to critical questions of health, medicine and politics. Knowledge and correct information can help allay our fears. And even if we remain afraid, it’s still better to uncover a correct answer, no matter how unsettling, than to be stuck with distorted, agenda-ridden misinformation.