A new study published in the journal Neuroradiology suggests wearing neckties may have health impacts.
Is your tie killing you?
According to a study published in June in the medical journal Neuroradiology, wearing a necktie leads to a decrease in cerebral blood flow, which allows blood to enter the brain.
Decreased blood flow to the brain can create a myriad of health problems including brain ischemia, which can cause blindness, speaking impairments and unconsciousness.
The study, led by a group of German researchers, was comprised of 30 volunteers who were divided in two groups. Both groups underwent an MRI: one with a necktie on, one without a necktie.
It was revealed that neckties squeezed the arteries of those wearing the neckties, reducing the level of blood flowing to the brain. The amount of cerebral blood flow was a statistically significant decrease of 7.5 percent for those wearing neckties than those who did not. The study contends that restricting circulation by such an amount could have fatal implications for someone with high blood pressure.
Although 30 volunteers isn’t a significant sample size to completely retire your tie collection, the study reveals that wearing a tie could lead to future health problems. The study does not explain how the 7.5 percent average decrease in blood circulation might affect brain function. But generally speaking, poor cerebral blood flow can lead to brain tissue death and result in stroke, hemorrhage and other conditions, according to Healthline.
The fallout from the study has already begun. The mayor of Lancaster, California, R. Rex Parris, read the study and wants to forbid all city employers from requiring workers to wear neckties.
At a council meeting this week, Parris asked the city attorney to look into whether such a policy is feasible.
“I spend a lot of hours every week on an elliptical or a bike just to increase blood flow to my brain,” Parris said, “and it turns out every morning when I put on a tie I’m diminishing it.”
The mayor’s proposal comes at a tenuous time for the tie.
The late Steve Jobs’ iconic uniform of black turtleneck and blue jeans — sans tie, of course — inspired many a think piece, and a generation of techies followed suit (good luck spotting a tie on the Facebook campus). In 2015, the New York City Commission on Human Rights released guidance on gender identity and gender expression protections, which clarified that employers who enforce policies that require men to wear ties or women to wear skirts could technically be violating the law.
JP Morgan introduced a business casual clothing policy in 2016. The next year, even the notoriously formal British Parliament dropped ties from its male dress code.
But the question of ties as a safety hazard has rarely entered the discussion.
Parris said he wants Lancaster employers to make wearing ties to work optional, at the very least. He likened the tie requirement to demanding women wear heels to work, characterizing it as an issue of compelled gender presentation.
“I don’t think it’s appropriate in America today to make anyone do something that is now known to be detrimental to your health,” Parris said when reached by phone last week by the Los Angeles Times. “Especially if it’s based on gender.”
Because of the study’s small sample size, Parris has asked the city’s Healthy Community Commission to check its reliability.
This isn’t the first time neckties have gotten a bad rap. A 2003 study published in the Journal of Opthalmology showed that wearing ties too tightly may increase risk for blindness and glaucoma.