Progressive Multifocal Leukoencephalopathy (AIDS-Related PML) Quiz

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Caroline M. Doan

Caroline M. Doan, DO

Internal medicine

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Learn more about Progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (AIDS-related PML)

Content updated on Jun 1, 2022

What is progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (AIDS-related PML)?

Progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML) is a severe neurological disorder caused by destruction of cells that produce myelin (protective layer around nerves) in the white matter of the central nervous system (brain and spinal cord). It is caused by reactivation of the JC (John Cunningham) virus. Most adults have been exposed to this virus and it usually does not cause any problems, but people with a weakened immune system are at higher risk for developing PML. Classically, PML is associated with patients who have HIV/AIDS, but it can also occur in patients without HIV who have a weakened immune system due to other reasons.

Symptoms of progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (AIDS-related PML)

  • Poor memory

  • Weakness on one side of the body

  • Weakness in arms or legs

  • Unable to speak or using incorrect words

  • Stuttering / stammering

  • Hands and legs became clumsy - I cannot do fine work with them

  • Speech that does not make sense, or behavior that is strange

  • Blind spots or blind areas in vision

Questions your doctor may ask to check for progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (AIDS-related PML)

Your doctor may ask these questions to diagnose progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (AIDS-related PML)

  • Have you been forgetful recently?

  • Are you unable to move the left or right side of your body?

  • Do you feel any weakness in your arms or legs?

  • Are you unable to speak at all, or do you find yourself saying words you did not intend?

  • Do you stutter or stammer?

Treatment for progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (AIDS-related PML)

Treatment for PML mainly involves strengthening the immune system. Underlying medical conditions weakening the immune system should be treated. For example, those with HIV/ AIDS should be treated with antiretroviral therapy.

View the symptoms of Progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (AIDS-related PML)

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Medically Reviewed By:

Caroline M. Doan

Caroline M. Doan, DO

Internal medicine

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