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Ties May Disrupt Brain Circulation

A study out of Germany finds men who wear neck ties may have less blood flow going to the brain.

Published in the Journal Neuroradiology, the study led by Dr. Robin Luddecke of the University Hospital Schleswig-Holstein in Kiel, Germany found blood flow to diminish in those donning the professional look.

30 men were recruited, 15 wearing a neck tie and 15 with an open collar shirt. All had successive MRI scans and those in the first group were scanned wearing the tightened tie, loosening the tie but buttoning the collar, and loosening the tie and unbuttoning the collar.

The specific knot tested in this study was the popular Windsor knot, asked to be tightened to the point of slight discomfort.


Inquisitr reported:  Based on the researchers’ findings, those who wore ties saw their blood circulation to the brain drop by about 4.33 mL/min/100 g, or about 7.5 percent, between the baseline scan and the second MRI, where the tie was tightened. The difference jumped to 12.8 percent from baseline during the final scan, right after the test subjects loosened their ties. Cerebral blood flow figures were similar across all three scans for those in the control group.  Interestingly, the researchers did not notice any statistically significant changes when it came to blood flow in the jugular vein.

That is interesting as the jugular vein, which transports blood from the brain, is more superficial than the carotid artery, which lies deeper, transporting blood to the brain.




However this study was very small, only 30 subjects and I’m not convinced that its a compression on the arterial circulation that we’re seeing.  It could be the fact that a tightened tie causes discomfort around the windpipe which may affect blood flow, or affects the jugular vein causing back pressure to the brain, thereby sending a signal that decreases blood flow to the brain.

In 2010, a study by Rafferty et al found tight neck ties to increase intracranial pressure due to decrease of venous return.

In 2004 a case of “Tight Necktie Syndrome” was discussed by Dr. Gifford Jones in a businessman who began to experience headaches, blurry vision and right ear tingling from his tight shirts and collars.

In 2003 a study suggested intraocular pressure could rise with the wearing of tight ties, worsening glaucoma, a leading cause of blindness.

The moral? Ties should never be worn too tight. That’s why my favorite work uniform is…scrubs.



Daliah Wachs, MD, FAAFP is a nationally syndicated radio personality on GCN Network, KDWN, and iHeart Radio.

She is also a Board Certified Family Physician and Assistant Professor at Touro University Nevada

Posted in Health, news

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