Juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA) is not a disease, but an exclusion diagnosis that encompasses all forms of arthritis that begin before the age of 16 years, persist for more than 6 weeks, and are of unknown origin. This heterogeneous group of chronic arthritides has been classified on clinical and laboratory grounds to try to identify homogeneous, mutually exclusives categories suitable for etiopathogenic studies . Recent advances have shown that while some JIA categories identify quite definite disease entities, others still include heterogeneous conditions. Some aspects of JIA classification and nomenclature need therefore to be reconsidered.
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