Progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy

Alternative Names

PML

Definition of Progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy

Progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML) is a rare disorder that damages the material (myelin) that covers and protects nerves in the white matter of the brain.

Causes, incidence, and risk factors

The JC virus (JCV) causes PML. By age 10, most people have been infected with this virus, but it hardly ever causes symptoms.

Signs and tests

Tests may include:

Treatment

In people with AIDS, treatment to strengthen the immune system can lead to recovery from the symptoms of PML. No other treatments have proved effective for PML.

Expectations (prognosis)

PML is a life-threatening condition. Talk to your doctor about care decisions.

Review

David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine; Luc Jasmin, MD, PhD, Department of Neurosurgery at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Los Angeles, CA, and Department of Anatomy at UCSF, San Francisco, CA. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc. – 2/6/2010

Gray and white matter of the brain
Leukoencephalopathy

ADAM Medical Encyclopedia

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