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How is progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML) diagnosed?

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If your doctor thinks you might have PML, he'll scan your brain using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). This technology uses powerful magnets and radio waves to make a detailed picture of your brain. He'll look for lesions -- spots of damaged tissue -- that show the presence of PML.

If an MRI doesn't give a clear picture, your doctor might do a brain biopsy by studying a small sample of tissue from your brain under a microscope for signs of the disease.

He might also take a sample of the fluid around your brain and spinal cord by using a spinal tap -- a needle put into your lower back.

SOURCES:

National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke: "Progressive Multifocal Leukoencephalopathy."

National Organization for Rare Disorders: "Progressive Multifocal Leukoencephalopathy."

Fields, R.D. , November 2010. Science

National Multiple Sclerosis Society.

Reviewed by Neil Lava on October 21, 2018

SOURCES:

National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke: "Progressive Multifocal Leukoencephalopathy."

National Organization for Rare Disorders: "Progressive Multifocal Leukoencephalopathy."

Fields, R.D. , November 2010. Science

National Multiple Sclerosis Society.

Reviewed by Neil Lava on October 21, 2018

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