The characteristics of the 31P MR spectra from a large central volume in the brain of 47 healthy adults (aged 25-85 years) were assessed. Spectral parameters were estimated by means of a time-domain fitting technique. Statistical uncertainties of the estimates were determined by means of the Cramer-Rao theory and minimized by introducing a priori knowledge into the fitting procedure. Age-dependency of the spectral parameters was assessed by means of linear regression. Significant differences between individuals were established for some parameters. A significant age-dependency (p < or = 0.001) of ca 20% over the age range considered was found for the intensity of the phosphocreatine resonance line.