Juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA) is the term used to describe arthritis—inflammation
(cellular damage) of the synovium (the lining of
joints)—with onset before 16 years of age. Previously called juvenile
rheumatoid arthritis, the name has been changed to reflect the difference
between the juvenile (childhood) forms of
arthritis and adult forms of arthritis. Although JIA is idiopathic (the cause is not known), it is likely the
result of a combination of genetic, infectious, and environmental factors.
Because arthritis in children may resemble the joint pain associated with
infections, cancer, bone disorders, and other inflammatory disorders, these
potential causes must be excluded before the diagnosis of JIA can be made.
The October 5, 2005, issue of JAMA includes an
article about treatment of JIA.