Laser Doppler spectroscopy has been evaluated for the measurement of cerebral blood flow (CBF) by correlation with simultaneous measurements by radionuclide labelled microspheres. The experimental procedures were carried out on five anaesthetised rabbits. The cortical tissue was exposed by means of a small burr hole and illuminated by a helium neon laser (632.8 nm). Reflected light was detected using a silicon photodiode, and CBF was calculated continuously from the power of the frequency weighted Doppler spectrum in the reflected light. Three successive measurements of CBF were made using the microsphere technique. Following an initial baseline measurement, CBF was increased by an infusion of metaraminol and then reduced by controlled haemorrhage. Laser Doppler spectroscopy provided continuous monitoring of blood flow fluctuations and during the haemorrhage it was possible to demonstrate CBF autoregulation until the mean blood pressure fell below 6.7 kPa (50 mmHg). A regression analysis was performed between the simultaneous CBF measurements from the two techniques using a least squares best fit straight line analysis (r = 0.92, P less than 0.001). It was concluded that the flow computed from laser Doppler spectroscopy varied linearly with CBF and offers the unique advantage of continuous and instantaneous measurements even during nonsteady state flow.