The cerebral blood flow velocity (CBFV) frequency spectra were studied in 106 premature and term newborns (gestational age range. 24-42 wk) and compared with the heart rate (HR) and mean arterial blood pressure (BP) spectra over the 0.005-0.5 Hz range. CBFV, BP, and HR were shown to have similar but not identical spectral patterns. Adjustment of a l/f model to these spectra produced highly significant fittings, but the residuals were not independent. This condition was met only by the CBFV and BP spectra over a limited frequency range (0.005-0.06 Hz). These results provide a characterization of the CBFV spectra for a much larger population of newborns than hitherto available, indicating that under certain conditions CBFV and BP might show the properties of chaotic systems. In infants without major complications, gestational age (GA) did not have a significant influence on the CBFV spectrum, whereas the spectral power to 0.5 Hz of both BP and HR was found to increase with GA. The spectral power increased over the first 24 h of postnatal life for all three variables: only CBFV showed a significant spectral change in the low frequency (LF, 0.02-0.08 Hz) range. A matched group comparison, adjusted for GA and postnatal age, indicated a reduction in CBFV LF power for term infants with birth asphyxia when compared with normal infants, which was not reproduced in the HR spectra.