In 1941, the "Wills Factor" was isolated as folic acid. Since the discovery, folic acid has also been found to reduce the risk of severe birth defects, known as neural tube defects that lead to permanent disability, damage to the skull or brain, and often early death.
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Lucy Wills was a hematologist who discovered that folic acid could be used to prevent life-threatening types of anemia in pregnant women.
Will's research into women's health during pregnancy has changed prenatal care and saved many lives. Today folic acid is recommended for all pregnant women.
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.
Looking at individual studies won't determine if vitamin supplementation is good for you. They're scientifically dense and the conflicts of interest can be very hard to spot.
"Systematic review papers" are much better suited for that. This is where independent scientists gather up all the available data and re-analyze it to answer big questions.
James Watt was a Scottish engineer and inventor from the 18th century and is remembered for improving the design of the steam engine.
Watt's steam engine made energy supply more efficient and reliable. It was fundamental to the start of the Industrial Revolution.
She is the world's first successful suffragette. Her work and petitioning of New Zealand's parliament is the reason that the nation became the first country in the world to grant women the right to vote.
After New Zealand embraced universal suffrage in 1893, Sheppard inspired successful suffrage movements in other parts of the world.