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JIA

The Norwegian Study on Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis (NorJIA) is a large, prospective cohort study performed by an interdisciplinary team at UNN and the Clinical Competence Center for Dental Health for Northern Norway (TkNN) in Tromsø, Mid-Norway in Trondheim and Western Norway in Bergen, as well as St Olav University Hospital and Haukeland University Hospital (www.norjia.com)

Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis (JIA) is a major public health problem, affecting around 1-2 in 1000 children under the age of 16. Current classification, based on clinical criteria, is still unsatisfactory as many of the identified subgroups appear too inhomogeneous. Furthermore, it is difficult to distinguish, early in the disease course, between patients who are most likely to develop joint damage, and who therefore require a more aggressive treatment at an early stage, from those who will have a mild disease course. Finally, in clinical trials drug efficacy is judged only on clinical parameters, since measures that can allow the early identification of the progression of joint damage, and therefore of drug efficacy on disease progression, are not available in children.

Since 2006 our research group has established a unique, longitudinal, “JIA-phenobank”, which includes detailed clinical data and standardised radiographs, MRI and ultrasound examination of 330 children with wrist and/or hip JIA from four large paediatric centres in London, Paris, Genoa and Rome (EU FP6 Health-A-Child). We have also established normal standards for MR and radiographs of the wrist (The Tromsø Wrist Cohort; PhDs Ording-Müller 2012 and Avenarius 2017, both UiT).

In 2012 we established a national, interdisciplinary group (PI Prof. Rosendahl, UiT/UNN), inlcuding paediatric radiologists, rheumatologists and dentists from Tromsø (Prof. Ellen Nordal), Trondheim (Prof. Marite Rygg) and Bergen (Prof., dentist, Marit Skeie) to elaborate on normal standards and to establish valid imaging scoring systems for active and chronic disease with a focus on temporo-mandibular joints; the NorJIA study. The first two PhD's using data from the NorJIA study emerged from UiT the Arctic University of Norway in 2020 and 2021 (www.Norjia.com). May 3rd 2022 Dr. Oskar Angenete, radiologist at StOlavs Hospital, Trondheim, defended his thesis, "Imaging of the temporomandibular joint in children with juvenile idiopathic arthritis; references and novel scoring systems for active and permanent disease". Currently, there are 7 ongoing PhD projects. 

Collaborative centers for the EU FP6 funded HeC study: Great Ormond Street Hospital in London (PI’s Prof Rosendahl / Catherine Owens), Genova (PI Prof Alberto Martini), Rome (PI Prof Paolo Toma) and Paris (PI Prof Francis Brunelle).

Additional collaborative groups: OMERACT JIA group (Prof Andrea Doria, Sick Kids Toronto, Prof Mario Maas, AMC Amsterdam).