Google honours haematologist Lucy Wills on Friday whose research on anaemia in pregnant women in Mumbai in 1928 led to the discovery of folic acid. It is the same Folic acid that helps prevent birth defects in babies.
Lucy Wills went on to do seminal work in India in the late 1920s and early 1930s on macrocytic anaemia during pregnancy and during the research on pregnant textile workers in Mumbai, she observed and discovered a nutritional factor in yeast which both prevents and cures this disorder.
Macrocytic anaemia is caused by enlarged red blood cells and can be a life-threatening condition. The discovery done by Wills' changed the preventive prenatal care for women globally.
Found naturally in dark green vegetables and citrus fruits, Folic acid is a form of folate -- a B-vitamin.
According to reports from CNET, Born near Birmingham, England, in 1888, "Wills attended three schools that benefited from a more progressive approach to education, the first being Cheltenham College for Young Ladies, a British boarding school training female students in science and mathematics".
She enrolled at the London School of Medicine for Women in 1915 and became a legally qualified medical practitioner in 1920 by earning bachelor degrees in medicine and science.
According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, women of child-bearing age should take 400 micrograms of folic acid daily.
For years it was "Wills Factor" until folic acid was named in 1941 when it got isolated from spinach.
Wills died in April 1964 and Google honours her with a Doodle on her 131st birth anniversary.
(With IANS inputs)
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