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. Persons with a weakened immune system, though, are at risk of developing PML. Causes of a weakened immune system include:
- (less common now because of better AIDS treatments)AIDS
- Certain medicines used to treat multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, and related conditions
- Leukemia and lymphoma
- Loss of coordination, clumsiness
- Loss of language ability (aphasia)
- Memory loss
- Vision problems
- Weakness of the legs and arms that gets worse
Signs and tests
Tests may include:
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.
PML is a life-threatening condition. Talk to your doctor about care decisions.
Calling your health care provider
Tan CS, Koralnik IJ. JC, BK, and other polyomaviruses: progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy. In: Mandell GL, Bennett JE, Dolin R. 7th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Churchill-Livingstone; 2009:chap 145.
Weissert R. Progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy. . 2011; 231 (1): 73-77.