Editor's note: We are saddened to inform our readers of the passing of the Rebbe's longtime doctor, the legendary Dr. Lawrence Resnick. In addition to his brilliant career as a caring healer and brilliant researcher, Dr. Resnick will always be remembered among Lubavitch chasidim and admirers for his selfless care for the Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson, of righteous memory, beginning after the Rebbe's massive heart attack in 1977 until the Rebbe's passing in 1994.

We bring you a few snippets of Dr. Resnick's rich life.

May his memory be a blessing to us all.

May 28, 2004

Lawrence M. Resnick, M.D., Dies at 55

Innovative Researcher in Hypertension Who Hypothesized Metabolic Syndrome—Findings that Potentially Affected the Treatment of More than 47 Million Americans with the Condition

Doctor to Lubavitcher Rebbe,
Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson

NEW YORK – Dr. Lawrence M. Resnick, an innovative researcher in hypertension who contributed pioneering research on the metabolic syndrome—findings that potentially affected the treatment of more than 47 million Americans with the condition—died on May 6, at his home in Manhattan. He was 55 years old. The cause of death was pancreatic cancer, according to longtime family friend Rabbi Moshe Kotlarsky of Lubavitch World Headquarters.

Dr. Resnick treated the late Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson for more than 15 years, until the time of the Rebbe’s death in 1994.

Dr. Resnick was Professor of Medicine at Weill Cornell Medical College and Attending Physician at NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center in the Division of Cardiovascular Pathophysiology and the Howard Gilman Institute for Valvular Heart Diseases.

Innovative Researcher

A distinguished research scientist in internal medicine, hypertension, and endocrinology, Dr. Resnick’s innovative research furthered these fields, broadening the understanding of metabolic disturbances associated with diabetes, obesity, and hypertension. In 1989, he first hypothesized a fundamental “ionic” link between obesity, hypertension, glucose intolerance, and dyslipidemia—what had previously been called “Syndrome X,” and is now called metabolic syndrome. Dr. Resnick’s research focused on the distribution of mineral ions within and without cells in the bloodstream, and further, how the relative concentrations of these ions play a role in the causation of metabolic syndrome. He also examined how certain hormones can regulate this distribution—work for which he is internationally known. Based on these findings, Dr. Resnick proposed that hormonal and ionic profiling could guide treatment of hypertension, and predict response to therapy.

Dr. Resnick’s research also argued against incriminating excess salt in all forms of hypertension, finding that only a third of all hypertensives are salt-sensitive, and that other minerals—including magnesium, potassium, and calcium—can be equally or more problematic depending on the individual case of hypertension.

Dr. Resnick also studied the elasticity of arterial walls, which has been shown to improve risk factors for cardiovascular health, and made major contributions to the understanding of the complex regulation of blood pressure. At the time of his death, he was involved in the study of the relation between high blood pressure and leaking heart valves.

Keen Intelligence and Engaging, Compassionate Style

Very highly regarded by colleagues, patients, and students as a compassionate physician and inspirational medical educator, Dr. Resnick was known for his keen intelligence, warm and modest persona, and eloquent, engaging “rabbinical” communication style.

Pursued Synthesis Between Science and Religion

He was also known for his passionate pursuit of knowledge in many fields. According to those closest to him, he constantly probed the depths of both Torah and science, seeking a synthesis between the two areas, an interest shared with the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson. Among his broad interests, which included classical music and constitutional law, Dr. Resnick also wrote thousands of pages of advanced study in Jewish thought and scholarship. He was a member of the Khal Adas Jeshurun synagogue in Washington Heights, New York City.

Medical Career Begins Early

Born in Chicago, Dr. Resnick received his undergraduate degree in 1967, and a medical degree from Northwestern University in 1970. At age 21, he was the youngest that year to receive a medical degree in the U.S. After completing his internship and residency at the University of Chicago and a fellowship in endocrinology at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia (then Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center), Dr. Resnick served in the Army as Research Fellow in Endocrinology at Walter Reed Army Institute of Research in Washington, D.C.; and Chief of the Clinical Investigation Service, and then Chief of the Endocrine Section, at Tripler Army Medical Center in Honolulu, where he was also appointed Assistant Clinical Professor of Medicine at the University of Hawaii School of Medicine.

Special Dispensation to Treat the Lubavitcher Rebbe

In 1977, Dr. Resnick was called upon to tend to the health of the Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson, who had suffered a massive heart attack. Special dispensation from the Pentagon was required. In a phone call with President Carter’s Chief of Staff Hamilton Jordan, Dr. Resnick explained that “if an American Army doctor had been called upon by the Vatican to treat the Pope, you would call a press conference—as a Jew this means the same thing to me.” After swaying the leadership, Dr. Resnick was transferred to Brooklyn where, officially, he was Chief Medical Officer at Ainsworth Army Health Clinic in Brooklyn. For a number of months, Dr. Resnick lived with the Rebbe and administered to his health. Dr. Resnick continued to be involved in the Rebbe’s health until the time of his death in 1994.

Dr. Resnick also was on the team involved in diagnosing President George H.W. Bush with underactive thyroid.

Career and Marriage

From 1979 to 1980, Dr. Resnick was a Research Fellow in Cardiology at the Harvard School of Public Health. In 1979, he met his wife, NBC producer Molly Sidi, whom he married the following year. In 1980, Dr. Resnick joined what is now called NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center (then The New York Hospital-Cornell Medical Center), and was appointed to Assistant Professor of Medicine at Weill Cornell Medical College (then Cornell University Medical College), in 1982. Following a seven-year stay (1993-2000) at Wayne State University Medical Center in Detroit as Professor of Medicine, he returned to Weill Cornell as Professor of Medicine in 2000. He remained in this position until the time of his death.

Numerous Professional Affiliations

Dr. Resnick was involved with numerous professional organizations and publications. He was Fellow of the Council for High Blood Pressure Research, Fellow of the American College of Nutrition, Executive Editor of the American Journal of Hypertension, Associate Editor of the National Kidney Foundation Nutrition and Blood Pressure Reviews, Chairman of the National Council on Magnesium in Cardiovascular Disease, member of the American Federation of Clinical Research, member of the American Society of Magnesium Research, member of the Eastern Hypertension Society, member of the American Society of Hypertension, member of the Inter-American Society of Hypertension, and member of the International Society of Hypertension. He was listed in America’s Top Doctors in 2001. He lectured widely and authored some 156 academic papers.

Dr. Resnick is survived by his wife, Molly; their three children; his mother; and brother.

Statement by the American Journal
of Hypertension / Dr. John Laragh

The American Journal of Hypertension, Ltd. sadly announces the passing of its Co-Executive Editor, Lawrence M. Resnick, M.D., on Thursday, May 6. Dr. Resnick was an integral part of the American Society of Hypertension and of the American Journal of Hypertension since the Journal's inception in 1987, where he recently became its Executive Editor. Dr. Resnick was a distinguished research scientist in his chosen fields of internal medicine, hypertension and endocrinology. He was world recognized for his research on the calciotropic hormones and on the renin system, in high blood pressure and for his contributions to the treatment of high blood pressure. He was an astute clinician, beloved by the many patients for whom he provided medical care in his role as Professor of Medicine at the New York Presbyterian Hospital Cornell University Medical Center. Larry's warm persona, his quick, engaging wit and skillful use of words enabled him to reach out to his colleagues and make important contributions to the science of medical practice that will be long remembered. The membership and staff of the American Society of Hypertension and the American Journal of Hypertension mourn his loss along with his wife, Molly, their three children, his mother and brother. John H. Laragh, M.D. Editor-in-Chief