Measurement of concentration, oxygenation, and flow characteristics of blood cells can reveal information about tissue metabolism and functional heterogeneity. An improved multifunctional hybrid system has been built on the basis of our previous hybrid instrument that combines two near-infrared diffuse optical techniques to simultaneously monitor the changes of blood flow, total hemoglobin concentration (THC) and blood oxygen saturation (StO2). Diffuse correlation spectroscopy (DCS) monitors blood flow (BF) by measuring the optical phase shifts caused by moving blood cells, while diffuse photon density wave spectroscopy (DPDW) measures tissue absorption and scattering. Higher spatial resolution, higher data acquisition rate and higher dynamic range of the improved system allow us to monitor rapid hemodynamic changes in rat brain and human muscles. We have designed two probes with different source-detector pairs and different separations for the two types of experiments. A unique non-contact probe mounted on the back of a camera, which allows continuous measurements without altering the blood flow, was employed to in vivo monitor the metabolic responses in rat brain during KCl induced cortical spreading depression (CSD). A contact probe was used to measure changes of blood flow and oxygenation in human muscle during and after cuff occlusion or exercise, where the non-contact probe is not appropriate for monitoring the moving target. The experimental results indicate that our multifunctional hybrid system is capable of in vivo and non-invasive monitoring of the hemodynamic changes in different tissues (smaller tissues in rat brain, larger tissues in human muscle) under different conditions (static versus moving). The time series images of flow during CSD obtained by our technique revealed spatial and temporal hemodynamic changes in rat brain. Two to three fold longer recovery times of flow and oxygenation after cuff occlusion or exercise from calf flexors in a patient with peripheral vascular disease (PVD) were found.© (2003) COPYRIGHT SPIE--The International Society for Optical Engineering. Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.