Google is commemorating English haematologist Lucy Wills with a cutesy doodle on her 131st birth anniversary.
Wills’ research on anaemia in pregnant women in Mumbai in 1928 led to the discovery of folic acid that helps prevent birth defect in babies
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.
Wills discovery changed preventive prenatal care for women globally.
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”, reports CNET.
In experiments, she attempted to prevent anaemia by adding yeast extract to the diets of rats and then monkeys through the consumption of the popular breakfast spread Marmite.
She spent the remainder of her life travelling and researching the impact nutrition has on pregnancy health, before her death on 16 April 1964.
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention now recommends that all women of child-bearing age take 400 micrograms of folic acid daily.
For many years it was the “Wills Factor” until folic acid was named in 1941 when it was isolated from spinach.