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Men’s ties may reduce blood flow to the brain and limit work performance, study suggests

New research from Germany’s University Hospital Schleswig-Holstein suggests wearing neckties may lower blood flow to the brain and ultimately inhibit creativity and analytical thinking.

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For the new study recently published in the journal Neuroradiology, researchers recruited 30 men and randomly selected half to wear neckties, tied with a Windsor knot. Each underwent three MRI scans, which measured cerebral blood flow and jugular venous flow.

The necktie group took one MRI wearing a loose necktie and open collar, the second with a buttoned collar and uncomfortably tight necktie and the third MRI with a loosened tie and collar again.

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Researchers found that CBF dropped an average of 7.5 percent once the neckties were tightened and about 5.7 percent  when they were worn loosened.

Five of the 15 men in the necktie group had a 10 percent or higher decrease in CBF —and all but two saw a drop.

“The percentage is sizable enough to make a fatal difference for those who have high blood pressure,” Tech Times reported.

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Men in the group without neckties experienced a slight increase in average blood flow  to the brain during the second MRI.

But this analysis has its limitations, including a small sample size of only 30 men. Additionally, the study doesn’t offer specifics about prior necktie habits of the men and while researchers noted that some percentage differences were statistically significant, the team didn’t address how exactly a 7.5 percent drop in CBF alters brain function and influences creativity. 

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In general, decreased blood flow to the brain could lead to poor oxygen supply, potentially killing brain tissue and resulting in stroke, hemorrhage, hypoxia or other conditions, according to Healthline.

And when it comes to creative and highly analytical thinking, previous research has shown that highly creative individuals typically have higher CBF in particular brain regions.

According to Healthline, the following are risk factors of poor cerebral circulation:

  • high blood pressure
  • high cholesterol
  • heart disease
  • atherosclerosis
  • family history of heart disease
  • diabetes
  • overweight
  • smoking
  • drinking alcohol


The Schleswig-Holstein study isn’t the first to suggest a possible hazard associated with ties.

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In addition to strangulation dangers, a 2003 study published in the Journal of Ophthalmology revealed evidence of an association with tight neckties and an increased risk of blindness. 

By measuring eyeball fluid in men before and after wearing a tie, researchers noted increases in intraocular fluid pressure inside the eye, which is associated with one of the top causes of irreversible blindness: glaucoma.@

Another study in the BMJ found that doctor’s ties in particular are a hotbed for disease-causing bacteria and other pathogens.

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