Spongy degeneration of central nervous system
Type of disease: Rare conditions
Canavan disease is an inherited disorder that causes progressive damage to nerve cells in the brain. This disease is one of a group of genetic disorders called leukodystrophies. Leukodystrophies are characterized by degeneration of myelin, which is the fatty covering that insulates nerve fibers. Canavan disease is caused by mutations in the ASPA gene and is inherited in an autosomal recessive pattern. While it occurs in people of all ethnic backgrounds, it is most common in people of Ashkenazi (eastern and central European) Jewish heritage, and among Saudi Arabians.
Source: Genetic and Rare Diseases Information Center (GARD), supported by ORDR-NCATS and NHGRI.