Starting to study anemia

In 1928, Lucy Wills was recruited to India and tasked to investigate why millions of pregnant women in the developing world suffered from a severe and often deadly form of anemia.

She found the red blood cells of anemic pregnant women were extremely swollen and consequently not carrying enough hemoglobin. Wills first thought that a bacteria or virus might have caused anemia. But she noticed that richer women in India who had a more nutritious diet were less likely to become anemic during pregnancy.

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