Canavan disease is caused by the absence of a vital enzyme called aspartoacylase (ASPA). ASPA breaks N-acetylaspartate acid (NAA) into building blocks essential for building myelin. Myelin is a fatty membrane (also known as white matter) that forms a proactive coating around each nerve ensuring the nerve functions properly.
Canavan is an autosomal recessive genetic disorder. Both parents must be a carrier for children to be at risk. If both parents are carriers, there is a 25% chance with each pregnancy the child will be affected.
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