At least this happened to 12.5 percent of the 3000 subjects aged 57 to 85 who were tested. More accurately, 39 percent of subjects who failed the smelling test died within five years, according to results published on Wednesday in the science journal PLOS ONE, an open-access resource from the PUBLIC LIBRARY OF SCIENCE. “Compared to a person with a normal sense of smell, a person with an absent sense of smell has three times greater risk of dying within a five-year span,” said to media Dr. Jayant Pinto, the study’s lead author. The smell test was conducted using five different odors subjects were asked to identify: peppermint, fish, orange, rose or leather. Age, smoking, alcohol use, overall health and socioeconomic status were associated when the test’s results were compared. The explanation of the study base was the supposition that a healthy olfactory system has stem cells that self-regenerate.