Wearing A Tie Could Be Bad For Your Health, Warns Study

In the playground, the boardroom, and at special occasions, a suit and tie have become shorthand for smart and professional. Irena Braga/Shutterstock

Sorry gents, it may be time to ditch the tie. The latest research, published in the journal Neuroradiology, has found that this particular garment restricts blood flow to the brain, putting some wearers at risk of headaches, dizziness, and nausea.

Ties have been around for a very long time, with the oldest examples dating back to the Qin dynasty of Ancient China, where members of Qin Shih Huang’s royal army adopted neckties. While it serves no functional purpose in the 21st century, a suit and tie have become shorthand for professionalism.

Not only a workwear staple, a tie can be worn to show off the wearer's taste, status, and personality – or, as John T. Molloy puts it in his 1975 book Dress for Success, "Show me a man's ties, and I'll tell you who he is or who he is trying to be".

British broadcaster Jon Snow, almost as famous for his impressive collection of colorful ties as he is for his news presenting. Channel 4 News/YouTube

Expanding on research by Robert Ritch at the New York Eye and Ear Infirmary, who found a link between tie-wearing and intra-ocular pressure, Robin Lüddecke and colleagues at University Hospital Schleswig-Holstein, Germany, scanned the brains of 15 otherwise-healthy men before and after they wore a tie. Next, they did the exact same thing with 15 additional men, only this time with no tie. 

When the results came in, the team could see that the tie-wearers experienced an average dip in blood flow to the brain of 7.5 percent. In contrast, absolutely no decline in blood flow was observed in the control group. 

For an otherwise healthy individual, this effect is really no big deal. In the grand scheme of things, a drop of just 7.5 percent is not going to do much harm, Steve Kassem from Neuroscience Research Australia told New Scientist. He added, it could be more problematic for those who already have a below-average blood flow rate (perhaps because of a blocked blood vessel) as well as those who are older, who smoke, and/or have high blood pressure. 

Given the fact that studies have also shown that ties are, essentially, "germ factories" with little to no functionary purpose, it may be time to join the likes of Richard Branson, Barack Obama, and the late Steve Jobs and chuck the tie for good. 

Alternatively, there are always clip-ons.

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