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Canavan Disease

National Organization for Rare Disorders, Inc.

Important

It is possible that the main title of the report Canavan Disease is not the name you expected. Please check the synonyms listing to find the alternate name(s) and disorder subdivision(s) covered by this report.

Synonyms

  • ASPA deficiency
  • aspartoacylase deficiency
  • Canavan's leukodystrophy
  • Canavan-Van Bogaert-Bertrand disease
  • spongy degeneration of the central nervous system
  • Van Bogaert-Bertrand syndrome

Disorder Subdivisions

  • None

General Discussion

Canavan disease is rare genetic neurological disorder characterized by the spongy degeneration of the white matter in the brain. Affected infants may appear normal at birth, but usually develop symptoms between 3-6 months of age. Symptoms may include an abnormally large head (macrocephaly), lack of head control, severely diminished muscle tone resulting in "floppiness," and delays in reaching developmental milestones such as independent sitting and walking. Most affected children develop life-threatening complications by 10 years of age. Canavan disease occurs because of mutations in the aspartoacylase (ASPA) gene that affects the breakdown (metabolism) of the N-acetylaspartic acid (NNA). It is inherited as an autosomal recessive condition.



Canavan disease belongs to a group of disorders known as the leukodystrophies. The leukodystrophies are a group of rare, progressive, metabolic, genetic disorders that can affect the brain, spinal cord and often the nerves outside the central nervous system (peripheral nerves). Each type of leukodystrophy is caused by an abnormality affecting a specific gene that results in abnormal development of one of at least 10 different chemicals that make up the white matter of the brain. The white matter is tissue composed of nerve fibers. Many of these nerve fibers are covered by a collection of fats (lipids) and proteins known as myelin. Myelin, which collectively may be referred to as the myelin sheath, protects the nerve fibers, acts as an insulator and increases the speed of transmission of nerve signals. Each type of leukodystrophy affects a different part of the myelin sheath, leading a range of different neurological problems.

Resources

Kennedy Krieger Institute

707 North Broadway

Baltimore, MD 21205

Tel: (443)923-9200

Fax: (443)923-9405

Tel: (800)873-3377

TDD: (443)923-9400

Email: info@kennedykrieger.org

Internet: http://www.kennedykrieger.org



National Tay-Sachs and Allied Diseases Association, Inc.

2001 Beacon Street

204

Brookline, MA 02146-4227

USA

Tel: (617)277-4463

Fax: (617)277-0134

Tel: (800)906-8723

Email: info@ntsad.org

Internet: http://www.NTSAD.org



March of Dimes Birth Defects Foundation

1275 Mamaroneck Avenue

White Plains, NY 10605

Tel: (914)997-4488

Fax: (914)997-4763

Tel: (888)663-4637

Email: Askus@marchofdimes.com

Internet: http://www.marchofdimes.com



United Leukodystrophy Foundation

224 N. 2nd St.

Suite 2

DeKalb, IL 60115

Tel: (815)748-3211

Tel: (800)728-5483

Email: office@ulf.org

Internet: http://www.ulf.org/



NIH/National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke

P.O. Box 5801

Bethesda, MD 20824

Tel: (301)496-5751

Fax: (301)402-2186

Tel: (800)352-9424

TDD: (301)468-5981

Internet: http://www.ninds.nih.gov/



Canavan Research Foundation

88 Rt. 37

New Fairfield, CT 06812

Tel: (203)746-2436

Fax: (203)746-3205

Email: info@canavan.org

Internet: http://www.canavan.org



Canavan Research Illinois

P.O. Box 5823

Buffalo Grove, IL 60089

USA

Tel: (847)222-0736

Fax: (847)222-0736

Tel: (800)833-2194

Email: info@canavanresearch.org

Internet: http://www.canavanresearch.org



Canavan Foundation

450 West End Avenue, #6A

New York, NY 10024

USA

Tel: (212)873-4640

Fax: (212)873-7892

Tel: (877)422-6282

Email: info@canavanfoundation.org

Internet: http://www.canavanfoundation.org



Genetic and Rare Diseases (GARD) Information Center

PO Box 8126

Gaithersburg, MD 20898-8126

Tel: (301)251-4925

Fax: (301)251-4911

Tel: (888)205-2311

TDD: (888)205-3223

Internet: http://rarediseases.info.nih.gov/GARD/



Madisons Foundation

PO Box 241956

Los Angeles, CA 90024

Tel: (310)264-0826

Fax: (310)264-4766

Email: getinfo@madisonsfoundation.org

Internet: http://www.madisonsfoundation.org



Jacob's Cure

PO Box 52

Rye, NY 10580

Tel: (914)502-4249

Fax: (914)925-3979

Email: info@jacobscure.org

Internet: http://www.jacobscure.org



For a Complete Report

This is an abstract of a report from the National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD). A copy of the complete report can be downloaded free from the NORD website for registered users. The complete report contains additional information including symptoms, causes, affected population, related disorders, standard and investigational therapies (if available), and references from medical literature. For a full-text version of this topic, go to www.rarediseases.org and click on Rare Disease Database under "Rare Disease Information".

The information provided in this report is not intended for diagnostic purposes. It is provided for informational purposes only. NORD recommends that affected individuals seek the advice or counsel of their own personal physicians.

It is possible that the title of this topic is not the name you selected. Please check the Synonyms listing to find the alternate name(s) and Disorder Subdivision(s) covered by this report

This disease entry is based upon medical information available through the date at the end of the topic. Since NORD's resources are limited, it is not possible to keep every entry in the Rare Disease Database completely current and accurate. Please check with the agencies listed in the Resources section for the most current information about this disorder.

For additional information and assistance about rare disorders, please contact the National Organization for Rare Disorders at P.O. Box 1968, Danbury, CT 06813-1968; phone (203) 744-0100; web site www.rarediseases.org or email orphan@rarediseases.org

Last Updated:  3/19/2012

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