Today is the 131st birth anniversary of leading English haematologist, Lucy Wills who was the pioneer in tackling prenatal anaemia during pregnancy.Lucy's seminal work in India in the late 1920s and early 1930s helped identify folic acid supplementation to prevent anaemia in pregnant women.
Wills spent her life traveling the world and researching on the health of pregnant women until her death in 1964.Born in 1888, she conducted seminal work in India in 1928 on macrocytic anaemia during pregnancy.
Lucy Wills observed an apparent correlation between the dietary habits of different classes of Bombay women and the likelihood of their becoming anaemic during pregnancy. Poor women were the ones with both the most deficient diets and the greatest susceptibility to anemia.
This anemia was then known as 'pernicious anemia of pregnancy'.However, Lucy Wills was able to demonstrate that the anemia she observed differed from true pernicious anemia.
The nutritional factor called the 'Wills Factor' was subsequently shown to be folate, the naturally occurring form of folic acid. Her observations led to the discovery of a nutritional factor in yeast which both prevents and cures this disorder.
It was later found to help not just pregnant mothers but also the child by helping in their brain development. (AIR NEWS)