Brain temperature is determined by the interplay between the cerebral metabolic rate of oxygen (CMRO2) and cerebral blood flow (CBF). In this study, single-voxel 1H nuclear MRS, with an accuracy of +/-0.2 degrees C for temperature determination, was used at 3 T to measure human brain temperature during visual stimulation (which increases both CBF and CMRO2) and hypercapnia (which increases CBF only). Visual stimulation had no detectable effect on brain temperature in the parenchyma showing blood oxygenation level dependent activation. Hypercapnia, leading to an increase in the end tidal CO2 by 8 +/- 2 mm Hg above the baseline, caused a short-lasting decrease in brain temperature of 0.30 +/- 0.33 degrees C. These results indicate that increased CBF may be a key factor, bringing about a small decrease in brain temperature during brain activation. However, the increase in CBF is not sufficient to lower brain temperature in the presence of a concomitant increase in endogenous heat production.