2021 Top Doctor: Luay Shayya, M.D.

Editorial StaffMay 5, 2021
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Photography by Steve Craft
Photography by Steve Craft


Med School/Year Graduated: University of Oklahoma/2012

Years in Practice: 3

Though known primarily as a respiratory disease, COVID-19 can cause “brain fog” and other neurological issues. Have you observed this at your practice?

Yes, I’ve treated multiple patients with post-COVID-19 neurologic complications. Unfortunately COVID-19 causes a wide range of neurologic symptoms ranging from memory difficulties, seizures, strokes and even brain infection.

What will be the long-term effects of COVID-19, in terms of our collective neurological health?

To be determined. The National Institute of Health launched the COVID-19 Neuro Databank/Biobank in January 2021 so we can track… and eventually treat the long-term effects of COVID-19.

You did advanced training in neuromuscular medicine. Describe that field, in layman’s terms.

Neuromuscular medicine is the study of the nerves that extend from the brain and the spinal cord into the face, trunk, arms and legs, as well as muscle disorders.

In your opinion, what are the most promising emerging treatments and technologies to address Alzheimer’s?

The most promising [advances] will identify and treat inflammation and abnormal brain proteins, [like] beta-amyloid and tau, before symptoms of Alzheimer’s manifest.

Like prophylactic treatment? At what age would someone typically be screened, to see if they’re predisposed to these harmful proteins?

Yes, I believe prophylaxis… is the new target for current research. The research itself is trying to identify when to screen patients. We don’t have a screening age yet.

You have a beautiful name! Luay is Arabic, is it not? Do you know what it means?

Yes, Luay is an Arabic name, and popular in the Levantine area. It means “Brave, courageous, shield/protector.”

You went to medical school in Oklahoma. What do you miss most about the Panhandle state?

Experiencing different seasons, enjoying Oklahoma fry bread and
my family

What is the best depiction of your field you’ve seen in TV or film?

Awakenings (1990) with Robin Williams and Robert De Niro, based on Dr. Oliver Sacks’ memoir by the same name. It is about a patient who develops Parkinsonism after a brain infection. Interestingly, Dr. Sacks was also a neurologist.

What was the last book you read?

Dragons Love Tacos 2, which I read nightly to my kids.

What are you watching on streaming TV these days?


“If I wasn’t a doctor, I’d be…”

Helping people in a different way. I would contribute as a team member for an organization with a people-centered focus.

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