Google is celebrating English hematologist Lucy Wills with a doodle to honor her 131st birth anniversary today. The pioneering medical researcher’s analysis of prenatal anaemia changed the face of preventive prenatal care for women all over the world.
Born on this day in 1888, Lucy Wills went to the Cheltenham College for Young Ladies, one of the first British all inclusive schools to prepare female students in science and mathematics. In 1911, she earned first distinctions in Botany and Geology at Cambridge University’s Newnham College, trailed by the London School of Medicine for Women, the first school in Britain to prepare female doctors.
She travelled to India to examine an extreme form of life-threatening anaemia afflicting pregnant textile workers in Mumbai, then Bombay.
In experiments, she endeavored to prevent anaemia by adding yeast concentrate to the diets of rats and then monkeys through the utilization of the mainstream breakfast spread Marmite.
The concentrate, which was later distinguished as folic corrosive, improved the health of the monkeys – a discovery named the “Wills Factor”.
Folic acid is currently prescribed for pregnant women, with other important nutrients such as iron and B12, for the prenatal prevention of anaemia and other conditions.
She spent the remainder of her life travelling and researching the impact nutrition has on pregnancy health, before her death on 16 April, 1964.