Google honours haematologist Lucy Wills on her 131st birth anniv with a doodle

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New Delhi: Google on Friday celebrated the 131st birth anniversary of English haematologist Lucy Wills whose early research in India helped identify folic acid supplementation to prevent anaemia in pregnant women.

Google dedicated a special doodle depicting Wills working in a laboratory setting.

Born on 10 May 1888, Lucy Wills was brought up in the country near Birmingham, initially in Sutton Coldfield, and then from 1892 in Barnt Green to the south of Birmingham.

She went first to a local school called Tanglewood. In 1915, she enrolled at the London School of Medicine for Women and became a legally qualified medical practitioner in 1920, earning bachelor degrees in medicine and science.

She conducted seminal work in India in the late 1920s and early 1930s on macrocytic anaemia during pregnancy. Her observations during the research on pregnant textile workers in Mumbai led to the discovery of a nutritional factor in yeast which both prevents and cures this disorder.

The extract, later identified as folic acid, improved the health of the monkeys during the research which was named the “Wills Factor”.

Wills’ discovery changed preventive prenatal care for women globally.

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