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Rheum Dis Clin North Am. 1997 Aug;23(3):499-522.

Abnormalities in skeletal growth in children with juvenile rheumatoid arthritis.

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Department of Child Health, University of Missouri Health Sciences Center, Columbia, USA.


A review of the acquisition of peak skeletal mass in normal children and studies that have been reported for children with JRA lead to the following tentative conclusions: (1) The appendicular skeleton is predominantly the overall status of skeletal mineralization; (2) a failure to develop adequate bone mineralization is virtually universal in children with JRA and is characterized by a failure of bone formation. A failure to undergo the normal increase in bone mass during puberty is common in children with JRA and markedly decreases their potential to achieve an adequate peak skeletal mass; (3) the onset of accelerated skeletal maturation with puberty is a critical period of potential intervention in JRA. Conversely, therapeutic interventions later during adolescence offer less promise of reversal of inadequate bone mineralization; and (4) the most important therapeutic maneuver is likely to be control of the inflammation process, although there is hope, at present unsubstantiated, that supplemental dietary calcium and vitamin D, and normalization of physical activity, many lead to some "catch-up" mineralization.

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