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the outside of a toy storeToy Story

WHILE TOY-STORE GIANTS KB Toys and FAO Schwartz have recently closed doors, local chain Geppetto’s has managed to thrive, expanding to seven locations across San Diego county. Led by native San Diegan and Wharton School graduate Brian Miller, Geppetto’s growth despite sluggish market conditions might be credited to the unique toy-buying experience it provides: Each store harkens back to an Old World sensibility, where ornate stonework and a warmly lit, woodsy interior create a cozy and whimsical environment (Pinocchio would feel right at home).

An intimate alternative to the crowded discount superstore, Geppetto’s shops are purposefully small, and the attention to detail is evident— down to the playful children’s music streaming over the sound system. The offering of imported and domestic toys is varied, from dolls and puppets to books and games. Geppetto’s carefully hand-selects toys, recognizing that children learn by playing and that highquality toys can facilitate the learning process in a way that is both engaging and imaginative. —JENNIFER B. KHALSA

Scan Artists

GOOD NEWS FOR PATIENTS at the Naval Medical Center San Diego: The hospital is now home to one of the most cutting-edge scanning tools in the world, the first of its kind west of Houston. Nicknamed the “gamma camera,” the new scanner is a hybrid, combining two kinds of images——a CT scan, which gives doctors a three-dimensional picture of an organ, and a SPECT image, which shows how organs function. SPECT images follow a slightly radioactive tracer injected into the body and show how it is absorbed and used by the brain and other organs. This new hybrid, christened the SPECT-CT (single photon emission computed tomography–computed tomography) system fuses the two images together, showing doctors not only how the radioactive tracer is being used but where it’s being used. As a result, the output reveals a more precise location of tumors or infections.

The scanner can also image blood flow to the heart, showing problems like coronary disease even before a person experiences symptoms. The Naval Medical Center acquired two SPECT-CT systems—— at a cost of $900,000 each——in August. Commander John Maher, who heads the nuclear medicine division at NMCSD, says individually, CT scans and SPECT images have their own limitations, but put them together and you get “a very powerful tool.” ——EILENE ZIMMERMAN

a building at the ExpositionTHIS MONTH IN SAN DIEGO HISTORY


> DECEMBER 31, 1914

AT MIDNIGHT, President Woodrow Wilson pressed a Western Union telegraph key in Washington, D.C., which turned on lights and touched off a display of fireworks to open the Panama-California International Exposition in Balboa Park. San Diego, the first U.S. port of call north of the Panama Canal on the Pacific coast, staged the 1915-1916 exposition to celebrate the completion of the canal.

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