The tie, a sign of male elegance, if knotted too tightly around the neck can significantly decrease the flow of blood to the brain. A study by the Schleswig-Holstein University of Kiel, Germany, has issued the warning. We discuss this with Dr. Daniela Calandrella, neurologist at Humanitas.
In this study, 30 healthy boys with an average age of 24 years were examined. The subjects were divided into two groups: the first was made to wear a tie with a Windsor knot, the other was asked not to wear it. All were then subjected to an MRI in three scans lasting 15 minutes each.
The examination was carried out in three different ways: the group of boys wearing ties were asked both to loosen it around the neck, keeping the collar open, and to perform the examination with the collar buttoned down and the tie tightened until they felt a slight discomfort and, finally, the test was repeated again with the collar and tie loosened. A comparison of the results showed that cerebral blood flow had decreased on average by 7.5% after ties had been tightened and continued to decrease on average by 5.7% even after ties had been loosened. All but 2 of the participants who wore the tie had a decrease in cerebral blood flow and in 5 of the subjects the decrease was more than 10%.
A research to be perfected
Although these results may reflect on the male habit of wearing a tie every day and tightening it firmly around the neck, it should also be noted that the study has some limitations: first of all the small number of participants. Moreover, the lack of clinical and instrumental information of the participants (did they have risk factors for cadiovascular disease? had they made an ecocolordoppler of the neck vessels?) limit the interpretation of the results obtained.
Finally, there are no other studies on this subject reported in the scientific literature so it is difficult to draw any conclusions.
Waiting for these results to be confirmed by a larger study, common sense directs us towards an intelligent use of the tie: not too tight knot and especially frequent washing because the tie can be a vehicle of infection, especially for those working in hospital in contact with the sick.