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Can·a·van disease

also  Can*a*van's disease  n :  a rare usu. 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
Canavan, Myrtelle May (1879-1953),
American pathologist. Canavan served as a pathologist for Boston State Hospital and the Massachusetts Department of Mental Health. She also held positions on the faculty of Boston medical schools. Her areas of research included chronic manganese poisoning, enostosis, the pathology of the mentally retarded, and the mental health of the offspring of schizophrenics. She described Canavan disease in 1931.

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