Some guys like wearing a tie to work. It makes them feel professional. And in many jobs, being sharply dressed is expected.
But new research shows that clothes may make the man…but they can hurt your brain.
For the study, researchers from Germany recruited 30 healthy men. They had half the men wear a traditional necktie. The other half wore an open collar and no tie.1
Then the subjects had magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans of their brains to check for cerebral blood flow (CBF).2
CBF is the amount of blood moving through your brain at any given moment. Blood brings oxygen and nutrients to the brain. It also removes waste materials.
High CBF is associated with higher brain functioning. On the other hand, severely restricted CBF can cause an ischemic stroke.3
In the first scan, men in the necktie group wore their tie loosely around their necks with their top shirt button undone. In the second scan, they wore their tie in formal fashion, with their collar buttoned and tie snug. In the third scan, they loosened their collar and tie again.
The MRI scans found that when the neckties were tightened, cerebral blood flow decreased by an average of 7.5% compared to the no-tie group. Five men had a decrease of more than a 10%.
Loosening the tie helped somewhat. There was a CBF decrease of 5.7%.
Researchers at the University Hospital Schleswig-Holstein in northern Germany performed the study. They published their results in the journal Neuroradiology.
The researchers wrote that there was “a statistically significant decrease of cerebral blood flow after tightening the necktie. It appears that wearing a necktie leads to a reduction in CBF.”
Loosen Your Tie for Better Health
This isn’t the first time that studies have found that wearing a necktie is bad for your health. A study published in the Journal of Ophthalmology found that wearing a tie increases fluid pressure inside the eye. This can lead to glaucoma. It’s one of the top causes of blindness.4
And a study in the British Medical Journal found that ties can be loaded with germs, leading to more colds and flu. Ties often drag across dirty surfaces. And most men rarely wash them.5
The solution is obvious… Avoid wearing a necktie whenever possible. And when you do wear one, make sure it is not pulled tight. Unbutton your top shirt button.
You can also try a clip-on tie. There are high-quality options that are hard to distinguish from regular around-the-neck versions.
If you are in a profession where you simply must wear a snug necktie, buy shirts with collars that offer plenty of neck room.
Editor’s Note: If you’re worried about staying mentally sharp, there’s something else you should know…
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