More police blotter stuff from Dennis Rodman, once perceived as eccentric but now regarded as troubled: a restraining order has been executed that prevents him from being around his ex-wife after allegedly attacking her last month .Michelle Rodman obtained a temporary ban against the retired athlete after he allegedly entered her house on May 28 and shoved her when she refused to let him near his 11-year-old son.She asked a judge to make the ban permanent. On the stand, sh claimed the athlete was drunk when he barged into her home at 2.30am and pushed her onto a bed when she would not let him see his son D.J.Rodman is expected to appear in court when the hearing continues today, TMZ reports.The former couple wed in 2003, but Michelle filed divorce papers to end their union a year later (04).
For the Philadelphia Eagles to beat the New England Patriots in the Super Bowl, they’ll need to keep relying on an offense tailored to Nick Foles’s strengths. Watch the video above to see just how different Foles is from Carson Wentz.
From ABC News: Injuries have played a role in this. Harper has played fewer than 120 games in three of his seven years in the majors, and those partial seasons have also limited his ability to rack up WAR, which is a cumulative stat that rewards just showing up for work.FiveThirtyEight examined all players in MLB history who have had one season of 8 or more WAR — but only one — before turning 26, and then we studied the trajectory of those players’ careers. There are 32 such players in MLB history, including three other than Harper who are still active: Aaron Judge, Matt Chapman (who hasn’t played his age 26 season) and Evan Longoria. Of the 28 players who are no longer active, 17 never produced another 8-plus WAR season after their age 25 season.The historical players studied peaked at age 24 (6.6 WAR) and 25 (6.5 WAR), then they declined steadily. A player’s peak is often earlier than conventional wisdom would expect. Jeff Zimmerman at FanGraphs found that while the average ballplayer peaks at age 27, good players peak at either 25 or 26 years old.While there are exceptions like Adrian Beltre and Henry Aaron, who had some of their best years later in their careers, the best baseball happens early for many excellent players. That doesn’t mean that Harper (or Machado, for that matter) can’t be a star-level player regularly, but history is betting against him becoming a consistent MVP presence like Mike Trout. Baseball may not quite know what Bryce Harper is, but the Phillies are going to find out.Neil Paine contributed research. The Philadelphia Phillies and star outfielder Bryce Harper on Thursday reached a record free-agent agreement in terms of total dollars ($330 million) and years (13). After waiting 123 days since the World Series ended, Harper breaks the mark set just days earlier by Manny Machado. The previous open-market record — Alex Rodriguez’s free-agent contract for $275 million deal with the Yankees on Dec. 13, 2007 — stood for 11 years until this winter.1Before Thursday, Giancarlo Stanton had set the record for the richest deal signed, a $325 million extension with the Miami Marlins in 2014.But Harper’s deal falls short in terms of annual average value ($25.4 million). For instance, Rodriguez’s mega deals signed in 2007 and 2001 each had greater average values, and offseason speculation expected that Harper might command more than $30 million per season.2After all, one win above replacement is valued at about $10 million. There is no opt-out clause in the deal, but there is a no-trade clause. Given the deal’s less-than-expected annual average value and Harper’s far-longer-than-expected wait on the open market, the contract suggests that the baseball industry didn’t quite know what to make of Bryce Harper.The good news for the Phillies is that Harper should help them immediately. Based on 100 simulations run for FiveThirtyEight by Out of the Park Developments, Harper will improve the Phillies from an 80.2-win team in 2019 to an 86.1-win team, though the computer forecasts still had Philadelphia missing the postseason. Harper caps an aggressive offseason for the Phillies, who traded for catcher J.T. Realmuto and shortstop Jean Segura and added notable free agents Andrew McCutchen and David Robertson to a young core led by ace pitcher Aaron Nola and slugger Rhys Hoskins.But what’s troubling for the Phillies, who are now committed to Harper through his age 38 season in 2031, is that there’s a good chance that Harper has already played his best baseball.Harper was on the cover of Sports Illustrated in 2009 at age 16, dubbed the “most exciting prodigy since LeBron.” A year later, he was the No. 1 overall pick in the draft. He debuted as a 19-year-old in 2012 and won rookie of the year. In 2015, he posted a season of 10 wins above replacement and was named as the National League MVP. Since he reached the majors in 2012, he’s 20th in position player WAR, and he owns a .900 OPS (on-base plus slugging). In many ways, he’s lived up to the hype.But seven seasons into his career, we’re not exactly sure what type of player Harper is. While he’s shown stretches of brilliance, volatility in performance has been his most consistent trait.This has led to an unusual career trajectory to date.He’s one of only 15 position players 25 and younger to own a 10-WAR season, according to Baseball-Reference.com. The rare company includes Ted Williams, Mike Trout, Willie Mays, Lou Gehrig and Cal Ripken Jr. But he’s had just the one elite-level season.3We consider a season “elite” when a player has at least 8.0 WAR. His other campaigns have had a range of outcomes, from 1.1 to 5.1 WAR. Even within seasons, he’s had dramatic peaks and valleys. Last year, for instance, he hit .214 with an .833 OPS in the first half but was a star in the second half when he hit .300 with a .972 OPS.
More: Apple Podcasts | ESPN App | RSS | Embed On Monday night, the Golden State Warriors kept their hopes alive for another championship ring, sending the NBA Finals back to Oracle Arena for Game 6. But the Warriors were not celebrating. Kevin Durant returned in Game 5 after a calf injury had kept him out of the playoffs since the Houston series, but he went down in the second quarter clutching his right leg. His Achilles injury could keep him off the court for another year. Neil, Geoff and Sara react to the injury and discuss what’s ahead for Durant, the Warriors and the NBA Finals.The NHL is also nearing an end to a dramatic Stanley Cup Final. Boston will host St. Louis for Game 7 on Wednesday night. The Blues have looked strong in this series and claim that they’re confident going into the final matchup. However, historical precedent would suggest that the Bruins are better-positioned to take the title. Our team debates who has the stronger case for the Cup.Finally, Sara indulges in the success of her favorite team, the Minnesota Twins, in this week’s Rabbit Hole.What we’re looking at this week:In case you missed it, catch our moment-by-moment analysis on the FiveThirtyEight NBA Game 5 live blog.Neil’s analysis of what Kevin Durant’s injury means for the finals and free agency.Stats to know in advance of Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final.Details of the Minnesota Twins’ high-powered offense from the Minneapolis Star Tribune. Embed Code FiveThirtyEight
He pushed his pawn up to c5, instantly giving Karjakin his biggest edge of the entire match, according to the chess engine Stockfish. After the two traded the rooks at the top of the board and the Russian captured the Norwegian’s pawn on c5 with his knight, the position belonged to Karjakin and his two unimpeded pawns on the board’s left side, itching to become queens. The game was won.But Karjakin had been burning through his time, which ticked down to less than a minute for five moves in a row. (If a player runs out of time he loses.) He relied on the bonus 30 seconds, burned them down, made a move, received 30 seconds in return, and then burned them down again. It was torturous to watch. In chess, thanks to the 30-second increment, you can relive ulcerous final seconds over and over and over again. The crunch got to Karjakin, eventually. He misplaced his queen on the 37th move, ceding back to Carlsen all of the advantage. One blunder cancelled out another, and the game was level again.With seven seconds left on his clock — seven seconds until instant defeat and devastated title chances — Karjakin made his 40th move.Things calmed down for a while after that, both players comfortably pondering the game with their added time. Stockfish saw the endgame as level, or maybe just a touch better for black, until the 51st move. Carlsen (white) had to make a decision here: Chairs have a storied history at the world championship. Bobby Fischer famously demanded that an Eames Time-Life Chair be shipped to Reykjavik for his 1972 championship match against Boris Spassky. He said he thought better while sitting in it. An Icelandic chess official thought it’d be nicer for the cameras if Spassky had a matching chair, so one was driven by limousine to John F. Kennedy Airport and put aboard the first flight to Iceland. The model of chair, now an icon of 20th-Century design, thanks in part to the match that had a rabid viewership in the States, is now sold by Herman Miller for $3,000.And what about this year’s model? After a Zapruder-esque examination of photographs from this year’s match, a lengthy search of office chairs online, and a crowdsource of my social networks, this year’s chair appears to come from Staples, the office-supply chain store. It’s called the Baird Bonded Leather Manager’s Chair and it retails for $270. Both players appear to use the same model. (Multiple messages to FIDE and its partner Agon Limited asking about the chairs were not returned.) Sitting in an Eames chair, Bobby Fischer, right, plays Soviet chess player Tigran Petrosian in Buenos Aires, Argentina, September 1971. Getty Images The two grandmasters will take their seats for at least two — and up to four — more hours-long games. There could be further shorter games if the match is tied after that. They should both get comfortable in their Staples chairs. Kirill Zangalis, Karjakin’s manager and a spokesman for the Russian chess federation, addressed the press after the game. “Sergey now knows how he can win this match,” he said. “Now, it’s only the beginning.”Tuesday is a rest day, and Game 9 begins Wednesday afternoon. I’ll be covering the rest of the games here — although there will be no dispatch here on Thursday — and on Twitter. “Chess is everything: art, science and sport,” the former world champion Anatoly Karpov once said. With the ticking clock and dramatic swings, it had never felt more like a sport to me than it did Monday night. And in sport, the equipment matters. The brilliancies and blunders are born in the minds of the two geniuses vying for this title, but they’re expressed to the world via more mundane physical objects. I wanted to know the tools of these sportsmen’s trade. Consider this your guide if you’re hoping to build a chess arena of your own at home.The official chess clock of the sport’s governing body FIDE — the small plastic box that loomed over Game 8 — is the handsome maroon model DGT 2010. It goes for about $80.The championship uses a souped-up board with sensors in the pieces, so that moves can be instantly related to spectators on monitors in the venue and on the internet. But you can buy an essentially identical version, sans sensors, for $470. It sports a rosewood and maple board and ebonized boxwood pieces, and was designed by the Pentagram architect Daniel Weil. The size of the pieces are, apparently, proportioned to the pitch of the facade of the Parthenon.But, most importantly, in what do the grandmasters sit? Chairs are important to chess players, for obvious reasons. In this year’s match, the two grandmasters have sat — minus the odd bathroom break and so forth — for about 68 total man-hours. He slid his queen over to e6. Karjakin pushed his right-side pawn to h5, heading down toward the white king’s defenses. And thanks to Karjakin’s innocent-looking pawn move, Carlsen had, essentially, run out of useful things to do. The black pawn on a3 was sprinting toward queendom while the black queen and knight were menacing the white king. One move later, Carlsen resigned and the two players shook hands.After his loss, a distraught Carlsen brushed past a would-be postgame interviewer without a word. As Karjakin dutifully did interviews backstage, Carlsen came out onto the stage for the press conference. But the timing was off. There was no moderator, no Karjakin, no questions being asked. It was just Carlsen, sitting alone on the stage in silence, facing a thick phalanx of expectant reporters, photographers and chess fans. You could pierce the awkwardness with the top of a bishop. And he sat and he sat and he sat, for minutes that felt like hours.Eventually, Carlsen had enough. He threw his hands up in disgust, stormed backstage and never returned. Magnus Carlsen testing different chairs before the match. The Staples chair that was chosen is at left. Photograph by Misha Friedman After a lengthy series of draws and building tension over the past 11 days, the deadlock at the World Chess Championship was finally broken Monday evening. The defending champion and world No. 1, Magnus Carlsen of Norway, was bested and resigned after 52 moves and five hours of play. His challenger, Sergey Karjakin of Russia, a heavy underdog coming into the match, now leads 4.5 to 3.5 in this race to 6.5 points and chess’s ultimate crown.1Wins are worth 1 point, draws are worth half a point for each player, and losses are worth 0 points. If the match is tied after 12 games, four relatively speedy tiebreaker games will be played on Nov. 30. Each player would get 25 minutes for his moves. Karjakin, who began the match ranked No. 9, has inched up to No. 6 in the world.The advantage in Monday’s Game 8, played on a frigid day in lower Manhattan, swung wildly back and forth between the two players. The game featured back-to-back blunders and a last-second move with the clock’s final seconds ticking down, a scenario worthy of a classic NCAA Final Four game. In the end, Carlsen overextended his reach, wandering into endgame territory more dangerous than he’d realized. Karjakin eventually steeled himself, as he’s done in a number of previous games, and found the winning line.In the opening, Carlsen, playing as white, deployed something called the Colle-Zukertort System.2Edgard Colle was a Belgian master in the early 1900s and Johannes Zukertort was a contender for the 1886 world championship, which took place partially in New York. In this opening, “white develops pieces behind its pawns, then takes action on his own terms,” Robert Hess, a grandmaster and chess.com contributor, told me. In other words: White’s position could get quite intricate before the fight begins, as he gets his pieces just where he wants them. “White tries to release tension on his terms so that his pieces can flourish.”By about the 25th move, it was clear that time was going to be a factor in the game, as the players struggled to deal with the insanely complex board they’d created with all those flourishing pieces. (Karjakin later called the position “crazy.”) The players get 100 minutes to start the game, 30 bonus seconds after each move, and 50 minutes when they make their 40th move. On the 32nd move, Carlsen had six minutes remaining on his clock and Karjakin had five. On the 34th move, the time ticking, Carlsen (white) faced this position:
Buckeye fans see the Ohio State drum major on fall Saturdays leading “Script Ohio,” but few know the man behind the garb. OSU head drum major Jason Stuckert said he is excited to travel to the University of Minnesota on Saturday, the only away game the marching band will travel to this year. “Hopefully we get a warm welcome,” he said. But getting to the Minnesota game and Ohio Stadium has been a long time coming for Stuckert. Even with almost 10 years of experience, Stuckert was anxious the day he made his debut in the ‘Shoe. “I was very, very nervous right before I ran onto the field,” he said. “Once I started moving, I just had a big smile on my face because this is what I had wanted for so long. I had the time of my life.” OSU has had a drum major since 1878, but Stuckert is the second person in OSU’s history to win the title of head drum major as a first-year student. Despite his age, Stuckert was confident in his abilities. “In my head, I think I knew that it was possible that I could get it as a freshman,” Stuckert said. His interest in being drum major and joining the marching band was evident from a young age. Marcia Lowe, Stuckert’s mother, said their family had season tickets to the Avon Lake High School football games by the time Stuckert was 2 years old. Though they usually made it only through the halftime show, Lowe said Stuckert and his sister, Abigail, a 2009 graduate of Miami University, were fascinated by the band. “He watched that drum major, and by the time he was in fifth grade, he started horsing around with his sister’s baton, which is a totally different baton,” Lowe said. Lowe said she was surprised when Stuckert asked for a ‘Gray Baton,’ an all-metal baton designed by former OSU Marching Band member John Gray, for his 12th birthday. “He was outside in the front yard … twirling that thing every day — sometimes twice a day — between two trees, so we had a mud hole sitting there that he’d worn in the grass,” Lowe said. As a child, Stuckert was “always happy, always smiling” and “a big entertainer,” Lowe said. Stuckert caught his first glimpse of the OSU drum major program in the seventh grade at Avon Lake’s annual homecoming parade, where he saw Avon Lake High School alumnus Scott Sommer and his brother, Eric, perform. Scott and Eric were the 1998 and 2004 OSU head drum majors, respectively, and were the first siblings to hold the title. After the parade, Stuckert went to a short drum major clinic taught by the Sommer brothers for students interested in becoming drum majors at Avon Lake High School. Eric said Stuckert was “rough around the edges but had a real desire to learn.” Stuckert’s story will conclude on Monday.
Former Washington State defensive coordinator Alex Grinch. Credit: Courtesy of Ezekiel Nelson | Daily EvergreenOhio State announced it hired former Washington State defensive coordinator and secondary coach Alex Grinch, who joins the staff in an undisclosed role. The university said “his responsibilities will be announced at a later date.”Grinch will be the 10th assistant coach on Ohio State’s staff. The NCAA instituted a rule allowing football teams to expand their coaching staffs from nine to 10 assistant coaches.“I am pleased to announce the addition of Alex Grinch to our coaching staff,” Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer said in a statement. “I am very impressed with his body of work while at Washington State, as many others were, and am happy he chose to come home to Ohio to become a part of our Buckeye coaching staff.”A Grove City native who graduated from Mount Union in 2002, Grinch spent the past three seasons coaching Washington State.During his final campaign with the Cougars, Grinch’s defense allowed the 16th-fewest average yards per game (323.3) and was tied for the 56th-fewest yards per game (25.8). Prior to his hiring in 2014, Washington State’s defense ranked 114th in points allowed per game in the country with 38.6.Prior to his time coaching to Cougars, Grinch coached the secondary at Missouri (2012-14), Wyoming (2009-11) and New Hampshire (2005-08).Bruce Feldman of Fox Sports first reported Grinch would be joining Ohio State on Thursday. He reported Grinch would assume the role of co-defensive coordinator with Greg Schiano, but Ohio State did not mention what title Grinch will have.
Since the fire, people in the local community have created a fundraising page to help support the family.Reverend Kate Peacock, rector of St Nicholas’ Church, has placed a book in the church, allowing people to pledge their support and offers of help to the Purdys.A GoFundMe page has also been set up to support the family and so far close to £3,000 has been donated.”The support we have received from the community has been absolutely overwhelming,” Mrs Purdy said.”Everyone has been so amazing, from the fire service, to the police, to the farmers who assisted the crews in offering hundreds of thousands of gallons of water to help put out the fire.”Although we have lost everything, in some ways, we have everything we need, and I can’t thank everyone enough for their help.”A Hertfordshire Fire and Rescue spokesman confirmed that the fire is being ruled as accidental. The house had stood in the village for 400 years, but only a few days after we move in, it burns down, so we feel pretty unluckySophie Purdy The Purdy family described the cottage as their ‘dream home’Credit:Mullucks Wells/SWNS The fire as it was being tackled at the Purdy family homeCredit:SWNS A family have been left homeless for Christmas just days after moving into their 400-year-old cottage when the wood burner they were using for the first time set light to the thatched roof.The Purdy family had only moved into their £865,000 “dream home” three days before it was razed to the ground on Dec 1.They had lit their wood-burner for the first time to warm up the five-bedroom cottage, but the thatched roof caught fire and burnt for hours.Despite the best efforts of the emergency services, fire crews were unable to save the home in Great Hormead, Hertfordshire. Paul Purdy, 38, and his 32-year-old wife Sophie are now homeless days before Christmas along with their children Oliver, three, and one-year-old Madeleine.Mrs Purdy said: “We are absolutely devastated and have lost everything. Fortunately we managed to rescue portraits of the children.”The house had stood in the village for 400 years, but only a few days after we move in, it burns down, so we feel pretty unlucky.”We have not heard back from the insurance company yet but we are hoping to rebuild once we are able to.”Although it was the worst day of our lives, it was one of the best days for Oliver, as he loved seeing all the fire engines and even got to sit in one.”He does keep talking about his new room though, and we don’t really have the heart to tell him that he doesn’t have a room anymore.”We are now basically homeless, and have been forced to stay at a hotel until we sort something out.” The Purdys first spotted the cottage six months ago and fell in love with their “dream home”.The couple, who have been together for 14 years, moved from their four-bedroom semi-detached property in Stotfold, Bedfordshire, at the end of November.Mrs Purdy, a project director for BT, said: “Nobody will ever know what happened. We caught the fire right at the start, which is the frustrating thing and the fire service said they thought there would be a little bit of damage to the thatched roof.”It is heartbreaking as we had bought our dream house after first seeing it about six months ago and we were really looking forward to it.”As for Christmas, we are probably going to spend it at my mum’s house. We’re just about to buy all the presents again as we lost all the ones we had bought in the fire.” Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings.
But the court heard that he had become increasingly aggressive in the weeks before the attack and had believed people were putting spells on him.Just hours before the knife attack, Bulhan’s father had taken him to the East London Mosque in Whitechapel to see someone who it was hoped could help calm him down.But Bulhan ran away from the Mosque and made his way to Russell Square where he launched his random knife attack shortly after 10.20pm.The court was told that the area, which has a large number of hotels, was busy with tourists making their way home after an evening in the West End. Yovel Lewkowski, an Israeli tourist, who survived the knife frenzy in Russell SquareCredit:pixel8000 Bulhan, whose parents were Somali migrants, had been chanting “Allah”, when he was confronted and Tasered by armed police close to the scene of one of the 7/7 attacks, prompting fears that it was a terrorist incident.But it later emerged that he had been suffering from paranoid schizophrenia, which had not been properly diagnosed when he had undergone a mental health assessment, months earlier. The Old Bailey heard that Bulhan had been carrying a pamphlet entitled Fortress of the Muslim when he was arrested and Scotland Yard anti-terror chief, Assistant Commissioner Mark Rowley, had appeared before the cameras to reassure the public that officers were doing everything to investigate extremist links.But within hours the incident was linked to mental health problems and yesterday (Mon), Bulhan’s barrister, insisted his client had never had any connections to Islamic extremism. Zakaria Bulhan has admitted manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility Police forensic officers at work in Russell SquareCredit:Yui Mok/PA Wire Mrs Horton’s daughter, Shannon, 26, who works as a mental health clinician, added: “I believe this person has lost all right to be in society any longer and has proven he is incapable of functioning on an outpatient treatment level.”I believe the severity of his actions calls for actions that ensure the safety of your citizens as well as those who travel to your city as my family has on many occasions.” The scene as emergency service workers attend to a woman who had been stabbed in Russell SquareCredit:Rehana Azam / SWNS.com We have suffered an unspeakable tragedy because of potentially unknowable deficiencies in our system of identifying and treating individuals with mental illnessRichard Wagner, widower of Russel Square victim He said: “What is perfectly plain is that whatever were his mutterings when he was on the floor having been Tasered and whatever the Islamic literature found about his person, they had absolutely no role to play in the events that transpired in Russell Square and any premature conclusion that may have been arrived at by some, that it was any kind of directed attack or terrorist attack, was completely misconceived.”He said the teenager had been suffering from mental illness from the age of 15, but it had reached a “crescendo” on August 3 last year.Bulhan later told psychiatrists in Broadmoor secure hospital that he felt people were trying to kill him, the secret service were tracking him and he was possessed by demons.He said: “I attacked the people because of the voices. It was like something took control of me.”He has since expressed deep regret for what happened.He will be sentenced on Tuesday and is expected to be held in Broadmoor for many years. Mark Heywood QC, prosecuting, said Balhan had been seen moving erratically along the pavement, holding a large kitchen knife.He said: “Without warning or provocation, the man stabbed six people in quick succession, saying nothing to any of them, moving on after each stabbing towards his next victim.”While five of those who were stabbed suffered non-fatal injuries and have since made good recoveries, Mrs Horton was stabbed through the lung and heart and died at the scene.Israeli tourist Yovel Lewkowski was among those who survived the attack. Mrs Horton’s widower, Richard Wagner, said there would be “blood on our hands” if the killer was ever released.In a statement read out at the Old Bailey, where Bulhan denied murder but admitted manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility, Mr Wagner said: “We have suffered an unspeakable tragedy because of potentially unknowable deficiencies in our system of identifying and treating individuals with mental illness, in his family and life circumstances, and in our knowledge of mental illness.”As a result, a potential killer was allowed to walk the streets. But knowing what we now know, if we ever allow him to repeat his crime and does so, the deficiencies will be our own and the blood will be on our hands.” The court heard that Bulhan had undergone an assessment in April last year by the East Wandsworth mental health trust after dropping out of school and showing symptoms of extreme anxiety.He was not diagnosed as as psychotic at the time however and it was recommended he be treated by his GP. Police guard Russell Square following the knife attackCredit:AP Photo/Frank Augstein The family of an American tourist stabbed to death by a mentally ill teenager, have blamed “deficiencies in our system” for allowing a killer to walk the streets.Darlene Horton, 64, a retired special needs teacher from Tallahassee, Florida, had been due to fly home the following day, when she was attacked on August 3, along with five other people in Russell Square, central London by 19-year-old Zakaria Bulhan. 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The pill is attached to a thin tube, meaning the balloon can be filled with water after it reaches the stomach.Experts said counselling was necessary to ensure that patients kept the weight off, after the empty balloon passes out through the body.Dr Roberta Ienca, from the University of Rome, said: “Because the Elipse Balloon does not require endoscopy, surgery or anaesthesia, this may make it suitable for a larger population of obese patients not responding to diet and lifestyle treatment.”The pill would not even need to be administered by a doctor, she said, suggesting nutritionists and dieticians could dole out the medication. The results triggered an “incredible” reaction from patients, who had struggled with their weight for years, she said. The ease of the technique – avoiding anaesthetics or surgery – meant it could be popular with swathes of failed dieters, they said. The technique could be suitable for those with a body mass index of 30 or moreCredit:PA Because the Elipse Balloon does not require endoscopy, surgery or anaesthesia, this may make it suitable for a larger population of obese patientsDr Roberta Ienca Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings. The pill – dubbed it a “gastric band in a tablet” – is licensed for use, but not yet available on the NHS. It costs around £3,000 privately – around half the price of stomach stapling.Researchers from the University of Rome said the balloon technique could be used widely and bring “significant cost savings” to health services in the long run.The head of the NHS has recently warned that obesity is the greatest challenge facing the service, fuelling £10bn spending on diabetes.The research, presented at the European Congress on Obesity in Porto, found patients who were given the one off pill, lost an average of 36 pounds – over 14 per cent of their total body weight.They also saw significant improvements in their health including blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and blood sugar control. Millions of Britons could lose more than two stone by taking a pill which contains a balloon, a study suggests.The results – unveiled at the world’s largest obesity conference – showed it can be an effective alternative to weight loss surgery.Experts said the NHS should now considering funding the pills for millions of Britons, with more than one in four obese.After the pill is swallowed, the balloon swells up in the stomach when it is filled with water – restricting the amount of calories a person can eat.The study of 42 adults found they lost two stone and six pounds on average after four months. Professor Jason Halford, from the European Association for the Study of Obesity, said: “This is to help people manage their appetite. If they have the balloon but they are also modifying their behaviour and the balloon helps them do that, that would be excellent. In that context it could be a solution for people who don’t want to go for full bariatric surgery.”The researcher, from the University of Liverpool, said “millions” of people could benefit from the treatment, if NHS would agree to pay for it.Prof Halford said: “I think this is for people before they would get to the point where they need bariatric surgery. It would be an alternative to an anti-obesity drug, which would come between the BMI 30 plus when people have tried everything and drugs have not worked….for somebody in that position it might be a good intervention.” Dr Simon Cork, Research Fellow at the Department of Investigative Medicine, Imperial College London, said:“This is an interesting study with interesting outcomes for clinical practice.” “Currently gastric balloons have to be inserted under general anaesthetic or sedation. This not only limits the number of patients who can have them implanted, but also increases surgery time and has significant costs associated with it.”Tam Fry, chairman of the National Obesity Forum, said: “Balloons should take all the fear and angst out of a bariatric procedure. If you need treatment and are offered the balloon experience, go for it .”