Ties are 'socially desirable strangulation', scientists say – and you probably shouldn't wear one

Business Insider SA
  • New research shows that wearing a tie can be “socially desirable strangulation”.
  • A study of 30 men found that those who wore neckties had reduced circulation to the brain.
  • This builds on previous research that found that ties were germ carriers.

Men who wear ties have less blood flowing through their brains according to a new study.

Robin Lüddecke and colleagues at University Hospital Schleswig-Holstein, Germany instructed 15 men with an average age of 25 to tie a Windsor Knot to the point of “slight discomfort”. Another 15 men did not wear neckties.

Using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), the researchers measured how blood was moving through their body.

Those wearing the Windsor Knot had a 7.5% decrease in cerebral blood flow – which is the blood flow in your brain and an important indicator of brain function.

Neuroscience Research Australia’s Steve Kassem told New Scientist that, while this may not affect healthy individuals, it could be a problem for those who already had circulatory problems, had high blood pressure, or smoked.

This is not the first study bringing ties into disrepute and question its effects on blood flow. And in 2006, the British Medical Association advised doctors to leave their ties at home. These ties, “which are rarely cleaned and are worn every day”, had no practical function and could be spreading disease.

For many, wearing a tie is a status symbol, a social cue to convey wealth and dominance. In fact, 2015 study has shown that wearing formal clothing, such as a tie, can make you feel more powerful and make you act more powerfully.

But you could be condemning yourself to “socially desirable strangulation”, the authors of the new study note.

The ur-origins of the necktie are uncertain. There are reports of Chinese terra-cota statues from the 3rd Century BCE wearing neck scarves, but the modern tie has its roots in the scarves of Croatian mercenaries in the 17th Century. These warriors inspired Parisian fashions, which resulted in the cravat.

Over the years, this has slimmed down to the ubiquitous tie – the bane of school boys and adults alike.

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