This is actually pretty handy, since any changes to the header format (which will probably happen often) won't affect the code for reading data files. However, note that reading files using this method also creates a security risk if there is any doubt as to the origin of the file, since reading the header involves executing a portion of the file as Matlab code. Therefore, be careful if you are working with files in one of these formats that you did not create yourself.
The current header format uses ASCII encoding, and defines Matlab struct with the following fields and values:
fid = fopen('102_CH1.continuous');
hdr = fread(fid, 1024, 'char*1');
timestamp = fread(fid, 1, 'int64',0,'l');
N = fread(fid, 1, 'uint16',0,'l');
recordingNumber = fread(fid, 1, 'uint16', 0, 'l');
samples = fread(fid, N, 'int16',0,'b');
recordmarker = fread(fid, 10, 'char*1');
See the analysis-tools repository for additional Matlab and Python code.