Today we are going to talk about a person named Lucy Wills. She was an English hematologist and physician researcher. Lucy Wills conducted research in India in the late 1920s and early 1930s on macrocytic anemia of pregnancy and a disease in which red blood cells dilate and are fatal. So let's gather a little more information about Lucy Wills.
Lucy Wills was born on 10 May 1888 in Sutton Cold field, England, U.K. She died in England on April 26, 1964. She said tropical pregnant women with incomplete diets are particularly vulnerable. Lucy Wills discovered a nutrient in yeast that both prevents and treats this disorder.
Lucy Wills is known as Pregnancy research. She lived in or near the city of Birmingham, known as the "World Workshop" for her many factories and industries. Lucy Wills' paternal grandfather, William Wills, was a wealthy attorney from the Nonconformist Unitarian family, and one of his sons, Alfred Wills, followed him into law and became notable both as a judge and as a mountaineer.
Her father, William Leonard Wills, was a graduate of Owens College of Science. Lucy Wills' mother was the only daughter of the famous Dr. James Johnston of Birmingham. Lucy Wills' family had a keen interest in science. Lucy Wills' father was particularly interested in botany, zoology, geology and the natural sciences, as well as the advanced sciences of photography. Lucy Wills' brother, Leonard Johnston Wills, took this interest in geology and natural sciences with great success in his own career.
Until the end of the nineteenth century, English girls had few opportunities for education and entry into professions. She was able to attend Cheltenham Ladies College, Newnham College Cambridge and the London School of Medicine for Women. She moved to Cheltenham in September 1903 and was one of the first British boarding schools to train female students in science and mathematics. Edith, Lucy Wills' older sister, lived in the same house two years earlier. Her exam record was good.
In September 1907 she began her studies at Women's College Newnham. Lucy Wills was influenced by the botanist Albert Charles Seward and the geologist Herbert Henry Thomas, who worked on the Carboniferous palaeobotany. When Lucy Wills was allowed to sit for a university exam, she was disqualified as a woman from pursuing a Cambridge degree.
Edith, Lucy Wills' older sister, died in 1913 at the age of 26. Later that year she and her mother now moved to Ceylon, Sri Lanka where they met relatives and friends. In 1914, Lucy Wills and her younger brother Gordon moved to South Africa. Both Lucy Wills and Wills were interested in Sigmund Freud's theories. When the war broke out on 14 August 1914, she enlisted in the Gordon Transvaal Scottish Regiment. She spent several weeks volunteering at a Cape Town hospital before arriving in Plymouth in December.
In January 1915, she enrolled at the London School of Medicine for Women's Medicine, the first British school to train female doctors. Lucy Wills became a legally qualified medical practitioner and was awarded in May 1920 with the qualification of a licensee from the Royal College of Physicians London.
Qualifying, she decided to do research and study in the Department of Pregnancy Pathology at Royal Free. And who worked with Lucy Wills's teaching staff doctor who was at Girton at the same time as the girls were on a metabolic study of pregnancy.
Lucy Wills began her final research work in India on macrocytic anemia of pregnancy in 1928 and the condition where red blood cells are larger than normal. Dr Margaret Balfour of the Indian Medical Service asked her to join the investigation of maternal death by the Indian Research Fund Association at the Haffkine Institute in Bombay, Mumbai.
She was in India between 1928 and 1933 and was mostly based in Haffkine. From April to October 1929 Lucy Wills moved her work to the Pasteur Institute of India in Coonoor. In early 1931, Lucy Wills was working at the Madras Caste and Gosha Hospital. Every summer of 1930-32 Lucy Wills returned to England for several months and continued her work in pathology laboratories at the Royal Free. She arrived at the Royal Free full-time in 1933 but had a 10-week working visit to the Haffkine Institute from November 1937 to early January 1938. On this occasion and for the first time she flew to Karachi.
Lucy Wills had a five-day journey on the inaugural route of Royal Airways carrying mail and some passengers. She observed the relationship between the eating habits of different classes of Bombay women and the likelihood of them becoming anemic during pregnancy. Poor Muslim women with Lucy Wills have both the most incomplete diet and the greatest susceptibility to anemia.
The anemia that Lucy Wills saw is different from the true benign anemia because patients do not have achlorhydria and are unable to produce gastric acid. Lucy Wills made the postulation that there should be other nutrients responsible for this macrocytic anemia besides vitamin B12 deficiency and for some years this nutrient factor was known as 'Wills factor'.
She decided to investigate possible nutritional treatments by first studying the effects of dietary manipulation on macrocytic anemia in rats and this work was done in the Nutritional Research Laboratories at the Indian Pasteur Institute in Coonoor. That work was later done with the help of a rhesus monkey because the rats' results were stigmatized by an old infection that cited those results.
Returning to Bombay, she conducted clinical trials on patients with macrocytic anemia and established on an experimental basis that this type of yeast extract could provide both prevention and cure, and the cheapest source was marmite.
Lucy Wills is known as an independent woman. She was again at the Royal Free Hospital in London from 1938 until her retirement in 1947. Lucy Wills was a full-time pathologist in the Emergency Medical Service during World War II. By the end of the war Lucy Wills was in charge of pathology at the Royal Free Hospital and there Lucy Wills established the first hematology department.
Lucy Wills traveled extensively after retirement and continued her observations on nutrition and anemia in people from Jamaica, Fiji and South Africa. In Fiji, Lucy Wills, along with Dr. Muriel Bell of New Zealand, was responsible for conducting the first multi-ethnic nutrition survey of women and children in Fiji. Lucy Wills studied the sources of anemia, protein and vitamin deficiency there.
Other Personal Information
Lucy Wills never married. She was close to her parents and her siblings and their children. Lucy Wills enjoyed many lifelong friendships with Christine and Ulysses Williams and her Cambridge contemporaries Margot Hume and Kate Lucan. Morale and other publications describe Lucy Wills as an independent, autocratic, not a victim of fools but a cheerful and enthusiastic teacher, an abusive walker and skier, an enthusiastic traveler, a lover of the beauty of nature, a joyful and entertaining.
The superiority of Lucy Wills' work on tropical megaloblastic anemia has long been recognized by nutritionists and hematologists. Every medical student has heard of her treatment through the discovery of the Wills factor of yeast extract which paved the way for subsequent work on folic acid.
She was always a hard worker even in her seventies and seeing the example of Lucy Wills, others were seen working harder than they thought possible. Lucy Wills has a strong belief in social issues. She has consistently supported him as a twelve councilor in Chelsea during the last decade of his life. Lucy Wills was particularly fond of books, gardens, music and theater and always had a keen interest in enjoying life with her keen intellect and humor.
Lucy Wills's generosity and greatness, excellent ability and resolution worked together with her and became a friend to all who found her worthy of respect and deep love. Her first scholarly paper was on plant cuticles in 1914. Four reports of Lucy Wills’s field and laboratory studies in India were published in 1930 and 1931 in the Indian Journal of Medical Research. After returning to England, many more papers came out about Lucy Wills' work on tropical macrocytic anemia.