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pml questions

Sep 15, 2003

could you explain pml to me i no a person with it and the symptoms are coming pretty quick for instance whe thought she had a stroke and it was affecting here left side she was still walking and talking and in a matter of a couple of days she cant walk hardly talk or do anything for here self a person like this with a t cell of 19 how long do you think they could live?

Response from Dr. Boyle

PML (Progressive Multifocal Leukoencephalopathy) is a condition associated with advanced AIDS and is caused by the JC virus. It can come on relatively slowly, or progress quite rapidly and the symptoms your describing are consistent with the presentation and progression of that disease. HAART can sometimes help, but there are no other treatments that have been clearly demonstrated to help. There are, however, some studies underway with experimental agents and your friend should seek the advice of her primary care doctor to determine if she is eligible for one. Unfortunately, I can't answer your primary question since over the years I have found that I (like most physicians) am not very good at predicting life expectancy. This is even more difficult for a person I have never seen, with a condition I have not evaluated, and who may have some treatment options. Generally, though, life expectancy for someone with advanced PML (like your friend) is measured in months not years.

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