Canavan disease

noun

Can·​a·​van disease ˈka-nə-ˌvan- How to pronounce Canavan disease (audio)
variants or less commonly Canavan's disease
: a rare, usually fatal, demyelinating disease of infancy that is characterized by spongy degeneration of the brain caused by an enzyme deficiency and that typically affects individuals of eastern European Jewish ancestry
… was diagnosed before he turned 5 months old with Canavan disease—a rare neurological disorder in which genes don't produce the protective myelin in the brain, causing the brain's white matter to degenerate into spongy tissue riddled with microscopic fluid-filled spaces.Burt Constable

Note: Canavan disease is inherited as an autosomal recessive trait requiring that both parents pass on a copy of the defective gene on a chromosome other than a sex chromosome.

Word History

Etymology

after Myrtelle May Canavan †1953 U.S. pathologist

First Known Use

1965, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of Canavan disease was in 1965

Dictionary Entries Near Canavan disease

Cite this Entry

“Canavan disease.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/Canavan%20disease. Accessed 29 Jan. 2023.

Medical Definition

Canavan disease

noun
Can·​a·​van disease ˈkan-ə-ˌvan- How to pronounce Canavan disease (audio)
variants also Canavan's disease
: a rare usually fatal demyelinating disease of infancy that is characterized by spongy degeneration of the brain caused by an enzyme deficiency inherited as an autosomal recessive trait and that typically affects individuals of eastern European Jewish ancestry
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