The Grapevine

Your Neckties May Be Reducing Blood Flow To Your Brain

Is it time to update the office dress code?

Like a pair of jeans or the little black dress, a suit and tie are regarded as timeless wardrobe essentials, associated with classiness and professionalism. But you may want to reconsider the tie as researchers from Germany reveal why they referred to the accessory as "socially desirable strangulation."

The study titled "Should you stop wearing neckties?—wearing a tight necktie reduces cerebral blood flow" was published in the journal Neuroradiology on June 30.

Scientists at the University Hospital Schleswig-Holstein recruited 30 volunteers for the study, one half that wore neckties and one half that didn't. The 15 participants who wore neckties were instructed to make a Windsor knot and tighten it to the point of slight discomfort.

Under these conditions, the participants underwent Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) so the team could observe any potential differences.

Each participant from both groups underwent three scans. The scans of the necktie group comprised of a loosened necktie with an unbuttoned collar, a tightened necktie with a buttoned collar, and a loosened necktie and unbuttoned collar again. The other group completed three scans without a necktie.

It was found that the men who wore ties had lesser blood flow to the brain compared to those who didn't. It was estimated to be around 7.5 percent lower, which may not cause significant symptoms but could have an effect on how well our brain functions. Of course, this particularly applies when the necktie-wearer is spending the day at the office or places where productivity is expected.

A smooth flow of blood to the brain ensures that the organ receives adequate oxygen and glucose to function, transported via numerous arteries. When a necktie is worn a bit tight, it could end up squeezing these veins and slowing down the flow.

In more severe cases, restricted blood flow to the brain can have serious consequences such as stroke, cerebral hemorrhage, hypoxia, etc. The authors noted that you will need to experience a drop in blood flow of 10 percent or more to experience noticeable symptoms.

The study did have a number of limitations. The sample size was rather small, for one. The research team also did not measure any potential changes in thinking abilities among participants.

So in other words, it may be too early to burn all your neckties. What people can take away from the study is to possibly loosen our ties as well as our office dress codes.

Men who are overweight, have high blood pressure, have a history of heart disease or anything that could put them at risk of cerebral circulation problems should take particular care.