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Progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy


Alternative names

PML

Definition

PML is a rare inflammatory disorder that leads to loss of myelin in multiple areas within the white matter of the brain . It is a virus-induced disease seen in people with poor immune function (immunocompromised).

Symptoms and signs include loss of coordination , clumsiness , memory loss, progressively worsening weakness of the legs, and to a lesser extent, arms.

Other signs may include loss of language capability ( aphasia ), visual field defects, and headaches . The greatest risk is being immunosuppressed .

The causal virus, JC virus, is a common resident in most adults, but it triggers loss of myelin in those whose immune function is deficient. It occurs in 4% of adult individuals with AIDS.

Update Date: 5/2/2002

Alberto Espay, M.D., Department of Neurology, Toronto Western Hospital, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network.

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