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Progressive Multifocal Leukoencephalopathy Symptoms & Diagnosis


If you experience any of these symptoms do not assume it is due to PML. These symptoms may be caused by other conditions. Symptoms progress over weeks and include:

  • Vision problems
  • Speech pronunciation problems
  • Ataxia (loss of coordination)
  • Memory loss
  • Weakness
  • Behavioral changes
  • Cognitive changes
  • Aphasia (loss of language capability)
  • Very rarely, seizures and headaches


Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history. She will also do a physical exam. Tests may include:

  • MRI scan —a test that uses magnetic waves to make pictures of structures inside the brain (key in the diagnosis)
  • Spinal tap —removal of a small amount of cerebrospinal fluid to check for evidence of the JC virus in the brain
  • Blood and urine tests
  • Brain biopsy

Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Copyright © 2019 EBSCO Publishing All rights reserved.

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